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Petrology Activities and Examples Collection

This is a collection of educational resources used in igneous and metamorphic petrology courses. The collection includes lab exercises, classroom activities, problem sets and more. The purpose of this collection is to allow for the sharing of materials within the community of petrology teachers. You can



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Calculating a Simple Phase Diagram: Diamond=Graphite part of 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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Extending Mineralogy by Electron Microprobe Analysis part of Teaching Examples
John Goodge, University of Minnesota-Duluth
This lab is designed to be a highly interactive lab session for a petrology course, where instructors provide a minimal level of essential background and then the entire group works together to explore mineral ...

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Using An M&M Magma Chamber To Illustrate Magmatic Differentiation part of Teaching Examples
Karl Wirth, Macalester College
Fractional crystallization by gravity settling can be illustrated using a model magma chamber consisting of M&M's®. In this model, each major cation (e.g., Si, Ti, Al, Fe, Mg, Ca, Na, K) is ...

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Volcanoes Writing Assignment part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Julie Baldwin, University of Montana-Missoula, The
Students write an original work of fiction pertaining to the geology of stratovolcanoes and their eruptive hazards.

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Working with Electron Microprobe Data from a High Pressure Experiment - Calculating Mineral Formulas, Unit Cell Content, and Geothermometry part of Teaching Examples
Brandon Schwab, Humboldt State 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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Teaching Stable Isotope Geochemistry in an Undergraduate Petrology or Geochemistry Course part of Teaching Examples
Steve Dunn
This assignment includes three reading assignments for students that (1) introduce the basics of stable isotope geochemistry, (2) explain carbon and oxygen isotopic shifts that result from volatilization and/or ...

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Introduction to Gibbs Energy part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short project that can be used in-class or as homework. It involves just a few questions and it is intended to help students understand the idea of Gibbs free energy.

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Guided Discovery and Scoring Rubric for Petrographic Analysis of a Thin Section part of Cutting Edge:Metacognition:Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
A guided discovery approach is used to "unpack" the methods and observations used by "master" petrographers in the petrographic analysis of a thin section. A series of spread sheets are used to ...

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Florida River Project: Sedimentary and metamorphic rocks lab part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College
This fairly traditional rocks-in-boxes lab has been incorporated into a semester-long project. At the end of the lab, students apply their rock-identification skills to rocks from their study area.

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Critical Review of a Journal Article: An Assessment Activity part of Teaching Examples
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
In this exercise students do a formal review of a journal article using review criteria established for the Geological Society of America Bulletin or American Mineralogist. The quality of the students' ...

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Learning pseudosections with Perplex part of Teaching Examples
Dave Hirsch, Western Washington University
This is a set of five assignments that build upon each other to teach students how to use Perplex to make pseudosections.

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Scientific debate: Mantle plumes part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
Brennan Jordan, University of South Dakota
A structured format for a debate of the mantle plume hypothesis and alternative hypotheses with supporting materials.

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Lab using Volcano Scenarios: Hazard Maps and Communicating Risk part of Cutting Edge:Student Learning: Observing and Assessing:Activities
LeeAnn Srogi, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
This is a lab activity in which small groups of students work with maps, rocks, photographs of volcanic deposits, and textual data to construct a hazard map and a risk communication plan for a specific volcano. Each group is assigned a "volcano scenario," which is based on real volcanoes.

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.

Introduction to Mineral Equilibria part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This activity features a short problem set to be used in class. It helps focus the discussion, while providing a starting point for an introduction to mineral reactions and phase diagrams.