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Introduction to Geochemistry


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Dr Eleanor Jennings
  • Assessment: four weeksheet assignments (10% each) and a two-hour examination (60%)

Module description

This module will provide the principles of inorganic chemistry necessary for an understanding of mineralogy, petrology and low-temperature geological processes. You will develop the mathematical skills necessary for understanding these inorganic chemical principles, and develop practical skills in solving geochemical problems through a series of written exercises.

Indicative module content

  • Atomic structure
  • The periodic table bonding and electronegativity
  • Chemical reactions and formulae
  • Chemical equilibrium
  • The nature of minerals
  • Properties of water and solutions
  • The phase rule and elementary phase diagrams
  • Kinetics of geological processes
  • Thermo-dynamics
  • The chemistry of the Earth
  • The use of isotopes in geology

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand abstract concepts in geochemistry
  • recognise specific groups of chemical elements and their role in geological processes
  • see the relevance of chemistry in other areas of geology
  • be aware of micro- and macro-scales in geochemistry
  • be able to synthesise information on a variety of geochemical topics
  • be able to relate specific chemical knowledge to a geological context
  • demonstrate skills in: ordering and prioritising; pragmatic thinking and analysis; graph construction and interpretation; mathematics; thinking in three dimensions; balancing chemical equations; preparing and writing summaries of chemical concepts.