GEOL474-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


This course will concentrate on the geochemical aspects of igneous petrology. At every stage we will be seeking to discover what magma chemistry can tell us about the nature of igneous processes and the relationships between igneous rocks. Following coverage of "core material" we will discuss particular igneous processes, the petrogenesis of certain rock suites and select some of the "hot topics" in igneous petrology.

This course focuses on geochemical aspects of igneous petrology. Methods of geochemical data collection, evaluation, interpretation and presentation are examined using real geochemical datasets to discover what magma chemistry can reveal about the nature of igneous processes and the relationships between igneous rocks.

Weekly round-table discussion will draw on some of the ‘hot topics’ in igneous petrology, outline techniques used to measure geochemical data and how to tackle the marked assignments. Students will also be shown the sample preparation and analytical facilities available in the Department, for possible use in their thesis. Marked assignments will include problem sets where the students have to manipulate, describe and interpret geochemical datasets in terms of igneous processes, a poster presentation on a subject of the student’s choice, and finally an illustrated report in the style of a journal article presenting, describing and interpreting an existing geochemical dataset, applying what they have learnt throughout the course, which will be reviewed by one of their peers and revised accordingly.

Learning Outcomes

To become confident and competent in evaluating, interpreting and presenting geochemical data.

1) Realise the importance of geochemistry and igneous petrology to all aspects of geology.
2) Choose the appropriate geochemical techniques to test geological hypotheses.
3) Manipulate and interpret geochemical data to understand igneous processes.
4) Discuss the benefits and limitations of geological interpretations based on geochemical data.
5) Write an abstract, prepare and present a poster, and deliver an oral presentation. Preparation for conference presentations.
6) Research and write a scientific report, undertake a peer review, respond to a peer review and revise manuscript accordingly. Preparation for writing thesis and papers, and understanding the peer-review and publication process

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.

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.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Timetable Note

One lecture per week.

Course Coordinator

Alex Nichols

Lab Technician

Rob Spiers


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Five Problem Sets 40% Five Problem Sets
Presentation 30% Poster, abstract and 3-minute oral presentation (presented end of Term 1)
Research Report 30% Research report, peer review and revised version (through term 2)

Five problem sets  -  40%  -  Throughout the course
Poster, abstract and 3-minute oral presentation  -  30%  -  End of term 1
Research report, peer review and revised version  -  30%  -  Through term 2

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Deer, W. A. , Howie, R. A., Zussman, J; An introduction to the rock-forming minerals ; 2nd ed.; Longman Scientific & Technical ; Wiley, 1992.

Gill R; Modern Analytical Geochemistry ; Longman, 1997.

Rollinson, Hugh R.1949-; Using geochemical data : evaluation, presentation, interpretation ; Longman Scientific & Technical ; Copublished in the U.S. with J. Wiley & Sons, 1993.

Winter, John D.1948-; An introduction to igneous and metamorphic petrology ; Prentice Hall, 2001.

Students will be required to read journal articles to fully answer the problem sets, to help prepare their posters and to support their research report.

Course links

Library portal


Prerequisites: GEOL336 or equivalent (subject to approval from Head of School)

Recommended preparation:
An understanding of chemistry, mathematics, mineralogy and some experience of using Excel or an alternative spreadsheet and graphing program is recommended.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,066.00

* 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 GEOL474 Occurrences

  • GEOL474-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021