Module Identifier EAM1520  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Nicholas J G Pearce  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr Bill Perkins  
Pre-Requisite Succesful completion of Semester 1 MSc course  
Course delivery Lecture   16 Hours.  
  Practical   2 Hours.  
  Other   Oral presentations from the students on the geochemistry of one particular element  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment of 8 laboratory practical exercises75%
Semester Assessment 15 min oral presentation on the geochemical behaviour of an element8%
Semester Assessment Report on the geochemical behaviour of an element, 2,500 words18%
Supplementary Assessment Presentation marks to be carried forward. Resubmit elements of coursework. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the factors which control the distribution of elements in the primary and secondary environments

Derive from first principles information concerning the solubility, stability and behaviour of elements in the secondary environment

Identify, retrieve and interpret information on the geochemistry of a particular element

Summarise and present relevant geochemical information to an audience

Make rational, scientific judgements on the validity and application of particular numerical methods to solving a range of geocehmical problems

Brief description

A Masters level module which provides an introduction to the processes which distribute elements within the primary environment (i.e. within the bulk Earth) including the primary processes of melting and fractional crystallisation to cause variations in chemistry of custral rocks. Once these primary porcesses have been considered the course moves on to consider the behavious of elements in the secondary environment, particularly aqueous geochemistry and the chemical, physical and thermodynamic controls which govern element behaviour in the surface environment.


Themes covered include:

  1. Bulk earth chemical composition
  2. Geochemical conventions and the structural controls on element distribution
  3. Crystallisation and melting - major and trace element behaviour
  4. Radioactivity and radiometric age determination
  5. Environmental and exploration geochemical data sets - backgrounds and thresholds
  6. Geochemistry of solutions 1
  7. Geochemistry of solutions 2
  8. Applied thermodynamics

Module Skills

Problem solving Yes, numerical problems involved in practical exercises  
Research skills Yes, researching and applying methods for presentation and interpretation of geochemical data. Researching the geochemical behaviour of one particular element.  
Communication Oral presentation on geochemistry of an element  
Improving own Learning and Performance Developed independent work associated with practical classes  
Information Technology Use of computers and spreadsheets for performing/plotting geochemical data. Students will have to search the internet for information on the geochemistry of an element, as a backup to literature sources. The information will be included in the final report on the geochemistry of a particular element. An element of the assessment will be assigned to the appropriate use of information gained from searches.  
Application of Number Numerical exercises are incorporated into most practical exercises, including modeling of geochemical data, solution geochemistry and thermodynamic calculations.  
Personal Development and Career planning Discussion with staff involved concerning relevance of examples to real life applications, and relevance to careers.  
Subject Specific Skills Applications to a range of numerical modeling methods for the interpretation of both solid Earth and aqueous data, including fractional crystallisation and melting, solution geochemistry (solubility, saturation) and thermodynamics.  

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
A.W. Rose, H.E. Hawkes and J.S. Webb (1979) Geochemistry in Mineral Exploration Academic Press
Donald Langmuir (1997) Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry Prentice Hall
Gunter Faure (1998) Principles and Application of Geochemistry Prentice Hall
James I. Drever (1997) The Geochemistry of Natural Waters Prentice Hall
K. Krauskopf and D.K. Bird (1995) Introduction to Geochemistry McGraw-Hill
R.M. Garrels and C.L. Christ (1967) Solutions, Minerals and Equilibria Harper Geoscience


This module is at CQFW Level 7