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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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Schreinemakers Analysis - Problem #4 part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a straightforward Schreinemakers analysis involving two invariant points.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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T-X Phase Diagrams part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a 15 page tutorial and problem set designed to get students familiar with T-X diagrams, their implications, and uses.

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Sediments and the Global Carbon Cycle part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Lonnie Leithold, North Carolina State University at Raleigh
This is a series of exercises designed to introduce undergraduate students to the role of sediments and sedimentary rocks in the global carbon cycle and the use of stable carbon isotopes to reconstruct ancient ...

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Determining Mantle Temperature and Composition from Discontinuities part of Cutting Edge: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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Deciphering complex fluid-mineral interactions in the palm of your hand part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
This exercise uses polished rock slabs containing veins sealed by copper-bearing minerals to understand the feedback effects in complex fluid-rock systems. By determining the minerals and their relative timing, the ...

Crystallization of Magmas part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
John Ayers, Vanderbilt University
Students use three methods to explore the crystallization behavior of a rock of known composition at 1 atmosphere pressure. This laboratory exercise illustrates various approaches used by geochemists and ...

Writing chemical reactions part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
John Ayers, Vanderbilt University
This is a simple introduction to writing weathering and redox reactions by hand and by using the Rxn program in the Geochemists Workbench. Its usually the first HW assignment I give in my class "Geochemical ...

Mineral Solubility Calculations part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
John Ayers, Vanderbilt University
Explores the pH dependence of the solubility of quartz, kaolinite, and rare earth phosphate, and familiarizes students with the use of the Geochemists Workbench programs "React" for creating reaction path ...

An In-Class Demonstration and Activity Using the FCAEM Remotely Operable Electron Microprobe part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida
This activity takes advantage of the full remote operation capabilities of the electron microprobe system available through the Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy (FCAEM) at Florida International ...

Chemical Differentiation in the Palisades Sill part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Matthew Gorring, Montclair State University
The purpose of this assignment is for students to synthesize field observations, petrography, and whole-rock chemical analyses in order to investigate chemical differentiation processes in a basaltic magma chamber. ...

Origins of Mafic Enclaves in the Dinkey Creek Pluton, Central Sierra Nevada Batholith, California part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jade Star Lackey, Pomona College;
In this lab exercise, students use and substantial spreadsheet of major, minor and trace element data compiled from studies of the Dinkey Creek pluton (Sierra Nevada batholith) and its microgranular mafic enclaves. ...

Batch and Rayleigh Decarbonation Modeling of d13C part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jade Star Lackey, Pomona College;
This is an Excel spreadsheet and graph that illustrates standard "batch" and Rayleigh decarbonation models and how they can be used to detect fluid infiltration during metamorphism of carbonates. It makes ...

Rb-Sr isotope in-class exercise part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Allen Glazner
This set of problems involves calculations of changes in radiogenic isotope ratios. It requires students to understand the concept of an isochron and how isotope ratios change (or do not change) during magma mixing ...

Major Element Control Presentation part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Kurt Hollocher, Union College (Lincoln, NE)
The presentation is an introduction to the control of magma chemical compositions by the fractionation of crystallizing phases. It is followed by a lab exercise where students interpret volcanic rock petrology and ...

Application of Sr Isotopic Data to Tuolumne Intrusive Series, Sierra Nevada, CA part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jeff Tepper, University of Puget Sound
In this problem set students are given Rb/Sr and 87Sr/86Sr data for whole rock and mineral samples from three granitic intrusions in the Sierra Nevada. They use these data (in EXCEL) to calculate isochron ages and ...