Exploring Geochemistry in the Classroom Using GEOROC Data
The Geochemistry of Rocks of the Oceans and Continents (GEOROC) is a database that provides chemical and isotopic data for rocks, minerals, and melt/fluid inclusions. GEOROC data is from multiple geological settings including convergent margins, ocean islands, seamounts, oceanic plateaus, submarine ridges, ocean-basin flood basalts, continental flood basalts, archean cratons, greenstone belts, and intraplate and rift volcanics. The site contains analyses for over 150,000 rock, mineral, and inclusion samples. Users can search the database by bibliography, tectonic setting, geographic coordinates, chemistry, or petrography.
Use and Relevance
Geochemists study the distribution of all of the known elements in this universe. Many of them study the composition of rocks and minerals on Earth and why they are found where they are. GEOROC is useful to anyone interested in geochemistry because it provides important geochemical data on volcanic whole rocks, minerals and inclusions and Archean cratons from various locations around the world. The data can be used to analyse and classify samples, compare similar rocks from different parts of the world, compare compositionally varied rocks from geographically similar settings, learn the name of a rock using information about it's composition, or to try and understand what a collection of elements experienced before solidifying into their current distribution to create a rock or mineral. Geochemists can also combine elements in new distributions to create new materials that could be used in our everyday lives.
Use in Teaching
- Volcanic and plutonic igneous rocks
- Mantle xenoliths
- Volcanic glasses
- Metamorphic rocks
- Inclusions (glass, minerals, and fluid)
- Generating graphs from raw data (using programs such as Excel)
- Interpreting petrological data (including chemical composition of rocks in % weight and ppm)
- Examining the function of plate tectonics in the formation of igneous rocks
Igneous Rock Compositions and Plate Tectonics