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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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Research Paper part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
Alan Wanamaker, Iowa State University
This writing assignment was a major part of a class entitled "Stable Isotopes in the Environment" at Iowa State University. The main goals of the assignment were to foster effective scientific writing and ...

Petrology/Geochemistry/Mineralogy/Structure of Shear zones in St. Lawrence County part of Cutting Edge:Structural Geology:Activities
Robert Badger, SUNY Potsdam
Field and petrographic examination of shear zones in northern New York -

Geochemistry all around us part of Activities
Andrew Knudsen, Lawrence University
We look at a variety of natural waters in and around Appleton over the course of the term. The goal is for students to recognize differences and how those play into the topics we have covered in the course.

Rock Samples and Geochemistry Analyses part of Activities
Maria Rosa Lourdes, Bahia Federal University
We will emphasize the importance of rock sampling and preparation for geochemistry analyses.

Nitrous Oxide Transport and Transformation part of Activities
Pierre-Andre Jacinthe, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
In this laboratory exercise, students gain experience manipulating gas concentration data, determining soil properties related to transport of gases through porous medium like soils. This exercise is appropriate ...

Integrating research methods into geochemistry using local resources part of Activities
Jeanette Jerz, DePauw University
This is a semester-long project that introduces students to research methods and practices. Students learn both field and lab techniques and how to develop testable hypotheses. Using local resources is an easy way ...

REE Modeling of Melting and Crystallization part of Activities
Mark Schmitz, Boise State University
This exercise is used in and out of class for exploring the use of trace elements to model melting and crystallization processes; it emphasizes quantitative skills and constructing numerical models.

Geochemical debates part of Activities
Nancy Hinman, University of Montana-Missoula, The
Students are given the task of defending or refuting a statement about global warming. Students are expected to work in groups to develop the strongest argument in their favor, but must also address issues raised ...

Crystallization-Differentiation of Basaltic Magma part of Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, students use geochemical data from volcanic glasses and minerals in lavas and drill cores from the solidified Kilauea Iki lava lake to learn about the petrologic processes related to the eruption ...

Crystal Structures as Geobarometers part of Cutting Edge:Mineralogy:Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, designed for undergraduate igneous petrology or advanced mineralogy courses, students download a series of crystal structures from the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database to explore ...

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 ...

Graphing Chemical Data to Identify Fractional Crystallization part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
John Brady, Smith College
Students are given major-element, whole-rock chemical analyses from ten samples of lava from the 1868 eruption of Mauna Loa. They do not know sequence of eruption, only that the lavas came from the same volcano. ...

Variation Diagrams and the Evolution of Thingmuli Lavas, Iceland part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

Zoned Plagioclase Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
R. K. Smith
The purpose of this exercise is to: become familiar with the various types of zoning found to occur in plagioclase feldspars, be able to recognize and identify the various zoning types, and be able to interpret the ...

Pet Rock Project: A Semester-long Exercise for Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University
The pet rock project is a semester-long project in which each student randomly selects an igneous or metamorphic rock from the instructor or brings in a rock from an appropriate locality, and follows all of the ...