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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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Field and Laboratory Project - Volcanology and Petrology of Interbedded Andesitic Lava Flows and Volcaniclastic Rocks from Washburn Volcano, Yellowstone National Park part of Teaching Examples
Todd Feeley, Montana State University-Bozeman
What follows is an example of a three part exercise for undergraduate petrology students involving volcanic and shallow intrusive rocks in the Washburn Range, Yellowstone National Park. We will loosely follow Part ...

Historical Volcanic Eruptions part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Jeffrey Nunn, Louisiana State University
Students are asked to individually research and write a paper on a historical volcanic eruption and then are formed into groups to create a 10 minute stand-alone PowerPoint presentation which is shown and discussed ...

Homework on Volcanic Rock Chemistry and Binary Phase Diagrams part of Teaching Examples
Jane Selverstone, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
This homework has 2 main parts: In the first part, students are given bulk compositions for 6 volcanic rocks and asked to classify them, think about their normative compositions, and given likely tectonic settings ...

Metastability during metamorphism (reading a metamorphic petrology paper from the literature) part of Teaching Examples
William Peck, Colgate University
I use this problem set as a way to introduce students (mostly sophomores) to reading a technical article from the literature. The paper is Austrheim, H, 1987, Eclogitization of lower crustal granulites by fluid ...

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.

Naming Igneous Rocks part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This project is intended to introduce students to the IUGS rock classification scheme. Samples come from the Wards Collections (which many schools have). Students are provided with both hand specimens and thin ...

Plotting Compositions in 2-D and 3-D Space part of Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a fairly short exercise that can be used for an in-class cooperative learning project or as homework. It includes LOTS of explanation and so is sort of a tutorial. I use it in my petrology class because it ...

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 ...

Iceland Lavas Lab part of Teaching Examples
Kurt Hollocher, Union College (Lincoln, NE)
The purpose of this exercise is to link volcanic rock petrology (hand samples and thin sections) with volcanic rock analytical data to hypothesize on crystal fractionation/accumulation control on lava composition.

Magma Modification in the central Sierra Nevada Batholith part of 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 ...

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 ...

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.