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Igneous Petrology


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Eleanor Jennings
  • Assessment: a workbook based on lectures 1-6 (50%) and a 2000-word report (50%)

Module description

In this module we introduce the main concepts of igneous petrology and relate the occurrence of igneous rocks to plate tectonics and orogenic activity. You will also study igneous rocks using a petrological microscope so that you can identify and interpret their mineralogy and textures.

The module includes one weekend field class in Cornwall.

    Indicative syllabus

    • The recognition, geological occurrence and petrogenesis of common igneous rocks
    • Classification of igneous rocks
    • Recognition of rock-structure and textures
    • The generation and consolidation of magma
    • The use of experimental data from natural and synthetic melts
    • The relationship between metamorphism, igneous activity and plate tectonics
    • The integration of descriptive and interpretative petrology is the main aim of practical work

    Learning objectives

    By the end of this module, you will:

    • understand the chemistry and mineralogy of igneous rock
    • be able to relate igneous rocks to plate tectonics
    • understand basic petrogenetic processes
    • be able to interpret information derived from thin-section and hand-specimen analysis
    • have developed reasoning based on evidence from mineralogy and chemistry of rocks
    • have basic scientific literacy
    • understand binary and ternary phase diagrams
    • be able to place various types of rock in a plate tectonic context
    • be able to interpret numerical and chemical data
    • be able to write scientific descriptions of rock samples.