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Geochemistry Activities

Stream sampling in the Animas River
USGS photo

This collection of activities can be used in geochemistry courses. The collection includes lab exercises, classroom activities, problem sets and more. The materials below are sorted by topic, and may be listed under more than one topic. Help us expand the collection by contributing your favorite teaching activity.



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Environmental Geochemistry Class Project part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Carey Gazis, Central Washington University
This is a inquiry-driven class research project on a local environmental geochemistry question that is accomplished during three-hour laboratory sessions each week. Students are divided into groups that will share ...

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Acid Mine Drainage Field-Lab Experience Round 1 part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Greg Druschel, University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
This contribution outlines a trip with my Geochemistry class to the Ely Mine, a massive sulfide mine (Besshi-type) in east-central Vermont and the field work they did there. We spent a full day discussing the site, ...

Quiz and in-class worksheet part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Karen Hudson-Edwards, Birkbeck University of London
For 1st year 'Introduction to Geochemistry' a pre-lecture quiz reviewing the previous weeks' lecture materials an in-class worksheet allowing students to practice skills relating to chemical ...

Relationship between mineral weathering and groundwater composition part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Nancy Hinman, University of Montana-Missoula, The
By observing changes in rocks exposed to chemical weathering, students are to infer resulting changes to the chemical composition of groundwater. Students are required to justify their inferences through the use of ...

Compositional Diversity in Volcanic Suites part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, students use geochemical data downloaded from the GEOROC database to explore the origins of compositional variation among volcanic rocks associated with the Yellowstone and Crater Lake calderas.

Spreadsheet analysis of chemical hydrographs part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
This is a good activity to have students practice spreadsheet analysis skills on a medium large data set. It also helps them understand stream hydrographs and baseflow/quickflow components.

Rayleigh fractionation visualization part of Cutting Edge:Climate Change:Activities
E. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University
A MS Excel spreadsheet gives an account of Rayleigh fractionation, the progressive removal of the heavier oxygen isotope as a moist air parcel moves from the subtropics to the high latitudes. This exercise is ...

Determining Mantle Temperature and Composition from Discontinuities part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Deep Earth:Activities
Anna Courtier, James Madison University
This pair of activities uses observations of mantle discontinuity structure to examine mantle heterogeneity and differences in the depth extent of melt sources for ridges and "hotspots." The first ...

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Problem set: Constructing metamorphic phase diagrams using phase equilibria and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Mark Brandriss
In this problem set students construct a P-T phase diagram for the aluminosilicate polymorphs based on experimental phase equilibria and application of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. The problem set uses unit ...

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Calculating a Simple Phase Diagram: Diamond=Graphite part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a very short exercise designed to get students to understand how the Gibbs energy equation is used to calculate the location of a reaction in P-T space. I use it in-class and have students work on it in ...

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Working with Electron Microprobe Data from a High Pressure Experiment - Calculating Mineral Formulas, Unit Cell Content, and Geothermometry part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Brandon Schwab, Western Carolina University
In this problem set students use electron microprobe analyses of a peridotite partial melting experiment to determine mineral formulas, calculate unit cell content, plot results on a classification diagram, and use ...

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Petrography and Petrogenesis of a Mid-Ocean Ridge Lava Suite part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Matthew Smith, University of Florida; Mike Perfit, University of Florida
This activity is designed to accompany a set of thin sections available from the authors. Students investigate mid-ocean ride basalt petrography and relate observed mineralogic changes to relevant phase diagrams ...

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Where Did That Quartzite Clast Come From?: A Problem-Based Provenance Study part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Andrew Hanson, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Students conducting geochemical provenance studies are forced to deal with obvious things such as manipulating/interpreting geochemical data, but also must deal less obvious factors such as considering earlier ...

What does the core/mantle boundary look like? part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
Suzanne Baldwin, Syracuse University
This activity explores how earth scientists infer what materials are present at the core mantle boundary and what this boundary might look like. It provides students with the opportunity to contribute to the ...

Experiments with Ultraviolet Radiation and the Greenhouse Effect part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Melanie Szulczewski, University of Mary Washington
Students use a solar cooker to model the greenhouse effect. They also develop their own experiments to examine the strength of ultraviolet radiation from the sun with various protective materials.