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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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Plagioclase Phase Diagram part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short exercise aimed at evaluating whether students understand how to interpret the Ab-An phase diagram.

Simple Eutectic Exercise: Diopside-Anorthite part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise can be done in-class (I use it as a group activity) or as homework. It is a quick way to get students to figure out how to use and interpret simple eutectic diagrams.

Thermobarometry Problem Set part of Teaching Examples
Jane Selverstone
This homework assignment gives students first-hand experience with thermobarometric calculations. Because many of my students are math challenged, I give them a choice of solving the equations by hand or with ...

Interpretation and Petrogenesis of Zoned Plagioclase part of Teaching Examples
R. K. Smith
The purpose of this exercise is to give students the experience of utilizing the two component solid solution phase diagram of albite-anorthite and applying this diagram to the interpretation and petrogenesis of ...

Major Element Control Presentation part of 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 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 ...

Major Element Fractionation During Differentiation part of Teaching Examples
Elizabeth King
This problem set introduces some of the more advanced uses of Excel to not only calculate how the chemistry of a magma changes with crystallization but also to see how the liquidus assemblage can drastically change ...

Field Guide to the Dutchess County, NY, Barrovian Sequence part of Teaching Examples
Donna Whitney, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
This is a field guide used for a field trip to explore the Barrovian sequence in Dutchess County, NY.

Phase Diagrams and Chemographic Projections part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is a good way to get students thinking about the phase rule, metastable and stable reactions and phase diagrams. It can be done in class or as homework.

Phase Diagrams from Kitchen Chemistry part of Teaching Examples
John Brady, Smith College
The main pdf file describes a series of lab or lecture activities using water, salt, ice, sugar, and alcohol that can be used to help students understand simple phase diagrams. The supporting pdf file contains ...

Learning Thermodynamics and Using Spreadsheets part of Teaching Examples
Sumit Chakraborty and Somnath Dasgupta
These files contain a set of three Excel files to balance mineral reactions, to explore variation of thermodynamic properties as a function of P, T and composition and to explore stability of different mineral ...

Granitic Rocks and Geologic History of the Idaho Batholith part of Teaching Examples
Elizabeth King
This is a lab/project in which the students not only name and identify a suite of granitic rocks but try to piece together the tectonic and geologic history of the Idaho batholith. This activity brings together the ...

Three Component Systems part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise involves plotting mineral compositions on triangular (3-component diagrams) and using those diagrams to determine possible mineral reactions.

Extra Credit Crossword Puzzles part of Teaching Examples
Jane Selverstone
These are two crossword puzzles that I hand out for extra credit, one for the igneous half of the course and the other for the metamorphic half. The puzzles reinforce concepts, vocabulary, and mineral formulae that ...

Geothermal Gradients part of 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 ...