GEOS 316 Geochemistry

Cynthia Fadem,
Earlham College


This introduction to the chemical Earth helps students understand fundamental geological interactions and the occurrence of geoscientific phenomena. This course emphasizes the manner in which our experience of Earth materials and environments is shaped by the chemical and physical tendencies of the universe.

Course Size:
less than 15

Course Format:
Integrated lecture and lab

Course Context:

This is a mid-level course for Geology and Environmental Science majors, and Geology and Environmental Geology minors. The only prerequisite is an introductory course (either Physical or Environmental Geology. This course serves as the prerequisite for my upper-level Hydrogeology and Soils courses (though it covers both high- and low-temperature relationships).

Course Content:

We study the structures and activities of atoms and matter; the formation of planets, rocks, and minerals; the nature of Earth's core, mantle, crust, and skin; and the impact of surface conditions on Earth materials. Class discussions incorporate primary literature extensively. Laboratory analyses stress the nature of human-environment interactions and incorporate the instructor's research. Coursework emphasizes the importance of and skills necessary for scientific writing through journalling and constructive report- and paper-writing.

Course Goals:

  • to add to the students' scientific literacy a qualitative and quantitative understanding of geochemical processes
  • to promote student facility in understanding and analyzing geoscientific literature
  • to provide students with the tools necessary to understand and communicate the functioning of Earth systems and interactions
  • to emphasize the importance and interconnectedness of the fields of Geochemistry and encourage the application of geochemical principles and techniques in problem-solving and sustaining Earth



Fadem - GEOS 316 - Geochemistry (Acrobat (PDF) 105kB May24 13)

Teaching Materials:

References and Notes:

Walther, J. (2008). Essentials of Geochemistry.