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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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How acidic is the rain if atmospheric CO2 concentration doubles? part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Lixin Jin, University of Texas at El Paso, The
Students use basic aqueous geochemistry knowledge to investigate controls of the atmospheric carbon dioxide level on pH values of the wet precipitation at standard conditions (25 oC, 1 atmospheric pressure).

Isotopes and Tracers part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Thomas Meixner, The University of Arizona
This assignment offers students several problems that help them understand the basic of mixing models and their use in understanding the controls on water quality in the environment. The purpose of the assignment ...

Soil Biogeochemical Cycles part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Colin Robins, Claremont McKenna College
This group activity charges students with teaching their colleagues about the biogeochemical cycle of one key soil element (e.g., either C, N, S, P, Ca, or Fe). Students are given a single class period to summarize ...

Dilutions and Spectral Properties of Solutions part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Carmen Nezat, Eastern Washington University
The purpose of this week's lab is to - prepare calibration standards - use a UV-Vis spectrometer to determine the spectral peaks for several dye solutions, and create a calibration curve - calculate how much ...

Isotopes in the Hydrogeologic System part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Laura Ruhl, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
The students will use activities to understand atomic mass and isotopes and stable isotopic fractionation in the hydrologic system.

Capabilities and Limitations of Geochemical Instruments part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Carmen Nezat, Eastern Washington University
The purpose of this exercise is to understand the capability and limitations of several instruments (AA, ICP-OES, ICP-MS) used for geochemical analysis. Students compare and contrast the cost, detection limits, ...

Spatial and Temporal Tracer Test Data Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Kenneth Carroll, New Mexico State University-Main Campus
This is an assignment I worked on with Dr. Brusseau (University of Arizona) for his Contaminant Transport class. In this problem solving exercise, students are provided data sets that could be obtained by ...

Resistivity Profile in an Urban Setting part of Cutting Edge:Geophysics:Workshop 07:Geophysics Activities
William Montgomery, New Jersey City University
Activity in an urban setting that includes an electrical resistivity line and hydrogeological information from nearby monitoring wells that enables students to create a meaningful interpretation of subsurface ...

Rb-Sr isotope in-class exercise part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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 ...

Batch and Rayleigh Decarbonation Modeling of d13C part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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 ...

Chemical Differentiation in the Palisades Sill part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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. ...

Variation Diagrams and the Evolution of Thingmuli Lavas, Iceland part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jeff Tepper, University of Puget Sound
In this problem set students are provided with an EXCEL spreadsheet containing major element analyses of lavas frm Thingmuli Volcano in Iceland. They are asked to construct variation diagrams (Harker plots) and ...

Application of Sr Isotopic Data to Tuolumne Intrusive Series, Sierra Nevada, CA part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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 ...

Geothermal Gradients part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Cameron Davidson, Carleton College
In this problem set the students use two different equations to calculate a conductive geothermal gradient using a spreadsheet program like Excel. Once they have the geothermal gradient plotted, they are asked to ...

Magma Modification in the central Sierra Nevada Batholith part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jennifer Wenner, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
This exercise is centered around a suite of rocks from the Sierra Nevada batholith. The activities are designed to give petrology students a capstone experience for the igneous portion of the upper-level Petrology ...