Igneous Rock Compositions and Plate Tectonics
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
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This page first made public: Oct 20, 2006
Published July 28, 2005.
In this exercise, students use whole-rock major- and trace-element compositions of igneous rocks from a variety of tectonic settings and locations to explore the importance of plate setting in determining magma compositions. Students are split into groups and assigned different tectonic settings to examine and compare with other groups. Datasets are obtained from the GEOROC database, imported into Excel spreadsheets, and graphed to learn how igneous rock compositions are a function of plate tectonic setting.