GEOL336-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Magmatic Systems and Volcanology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


Study of magmatic systems including the nature and origin of igneous materials and links with the physical processes of volcanology.

This course is designed to examine the nature, origin, and interpretation of igneous rocks and mineral assemblages, as well as the magmatic processes that have produced these materials. Additionally, it aims to develop an understanding of the petrological evolution of the crustal lithosphere within a modern plate dynamic framework. Students taking this course will receive a broad grounding in the experimental, petrographical and geochemical aspects of igneous petrogenesis and magmatic processes. Emphasis will also be given to the physical volcanological aspects of volcanology, such as describing volcanic textures and structures with an aim to understand volcanic processes. There will also be an aspect of online learning using virtual fieldtrips to volcanoes to complement face to face and laboratory learning. The course consists of weekly laboratory classes throughout semester 2, two weekly lectures in term 3, and an online module and weekly workshop in term 4.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students successfully completing this course will:
  • Realize the importance of igneous rocks in geology and to society.
  • Identify and classify igneous rocks and their geological environments.
  • Use geochemistry to explain why magma is generated, diversifies and erupts.
  • Use geochemical data, thin sections, and maps to reconstruct the magmatic and volcanological histories.
  • Discuss physical volcanological processes with relevance to magma properties
  • Describe volcanic rocks in the field using examples from Iceland and New Zealand
  • Communicate science with different audiences and appreciate the value of Māori knowledge.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


GEOL242 and any 15 points at 200 level from GEOL

Timetable Note

Term 3: 2 lectures per week that include laptop based in-class assignments.
Term 4: 1 online modules and 1 weekly in person workshop that include workbook assignments.

Terms 3 and 4: 1 lab (2.5 hours) per week.

Bring your laptop to lectures, workshops and labs.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Ben Kennedy


Alex Nichols


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Term 3 In-Class Exercises 10% Due end of Term 3
Term 3 Labs 20% Due weekly in Term 3
Term 3 Theory Test 20% Due end of Term 3
Term 4 Online learning and in workshops 20% Due weekly in Term 4
Term 4 Labs completion 10% Due end of Term 4
Communication Project 20% Due date to be advised

Relationship of GEOL336 to other courses
You cannot take GEOL336 without first completing GEOL242. GEOL336 is a prerequisite for GEOL474 (Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry), and students wishing to take GEOL476 (Volcanology) are strongly recommended to take this course.

Laboratory weeks 1-10 (5%) Class weeks 1-10 (5%) participation  -  10%
Final Laboratory Examination from both terms (Week 11)  -  30%
Virtual Fieldtrip week 11 and 12 participation (10%) and reflection (10%)  -  20%
Final Examination from both terms (Closed Book; 3 hours; UC Exam Period)  -  40%

Lab classes will comprise a mix of microscope work, geochemical data analysis and computer-assisted learning:
• Introductory labs on igneous petrographic nomenclature and thin section descriptions
• Introduction to the use of geochemical data on igneous rocks to describe and identify magmatic processes
• Edible and explosive igneous experiments.

Participation in lab will be assessed by the full completion of the lab.
Participation in lecture will be assessed by the completion and handing in of in class assignments.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Winter, John D; Principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology ; 2nd ed; Prentice Hall, 2010.

Volcanology texts are posted on the learn website- Practical volcanology, and Encyclopedia of volcanoes

Course links

Library portal


Prerequisites: GEOL242 and any 15 points at 200 level from GEOL

Restrictions: none

Recommended preparation: GEOL111, GEOL101

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $951.00

International fee $4,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL336 Occurrences

  • GEOL336-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023