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Magmatic Processes


Module description

This module aims to:

  • introduce modern concepts of petrogenesis, including the major magmatic processes
  • show the importance of geochemical data in the study of igneous petrology
  • introduce you to the integration of thin-section petrography and geochemical data in order to understand the origin of suites of igneous rocks.

Practicals will consist of petrographic examination and description of igneous rocks in thin-section, plus the application of chemical calculations to petrogenetic problems. A calculator and optical mineralogy textbook will be essential for practical work.

Indicative module content

  • The generation of magmas, their subsequent behaviour and evolution
  • Application of trace elements and radiogenic isotopes to the study of the origin of igneous rocks
  • Tectonic setting of major igneous rock associations
  • Processes at constructive and destructive plate margins
  • Origin and evolution of alkaline rocks
  • Evidence for crustal contamination, magma mixing and liquid immiscibility in the formation and evolution of magmas

Learning objectives

By the end this module, you should:

  • understand modern concepts of igneous petrology
  • be able to relate petrographic and geochemical information to deduce the origin of igneous rocks
  • be able to interpret information from thin-sections and integrate this with geochemical data
  • have developed reasoning based on evidence from thin-section observations and geochemical data.

Recommended reading

  • Wilson, M., Igneous Petrogenesis (Unwin Hyman, 1988).