Skip to main content

Metamorphic Petrology


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Steve Hirons
  • Assessment: one three-hour combined theory and practical paper (100%)

Module description

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

The module includes one weekend field class in Cornwall (optional).

    Indicative syllabus

    • The recognition, geological occurrence and petrogenesis of common metamorphic rocks
    • Classification of metamorphic rocks
    • Recognition of rock-structure and textures
    • Relationship between metamorphism and plate tectonics
    • The nature of metamorphic reactions
    • Metamorphic grade
    • Metamorphic facies
    • High- and low-pressure metamorphism
    • The integration of descriptive and interpretative petrology is the main aim of practical work

    Learning objectives

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

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