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Volcanism in the Solar System


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Dr Eleanor Jennings
  • Assessment: three practical write-ups (15% each), an annotated bibliography (15%) and a 2000-word essay (40%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to the nature of volcanism on the Earth and other planets. You will expand your understanding of the processes that drive volcanism and learn the differences in volcanic activity on different bodies in the Solar System. We will show you how volcanic activity is related to the chemical and physical properties of magmas and the nature of the planetary body.

Practical material will include hand-specimens and thin-sections of volcanic rocks, together with maps and digital images of volcanoes, and thin-sections and geochemical data of samples from the Moon and Mars. A mixture of terrestrial and planetary material will be presented.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand the diversity of magmas that form volcanoes on the terrestrial planets and icy satellites
  • understand volcanic processes and products
  • distinguish and classify volcanic structures and products using maps, hand-specimens and thin-sections.