Geochemistry & Petrogenesis

Subject GEOL30004 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x two hour lecture per week; and 1 x two hour practical class per week
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours

One of

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Subjects selected from

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Prof Janet Hergt



Subject Overview:

Solving geological problems requires unravelling what happened and when. Petrogenesis is literally 'the origin of rocks' and in this subject several essential tools geologists employ to unravel the complexity of earth processes using chemical information preserved in rocks and minerals will be presented. These include the major, trace element and isotopic compositions of rocks and minerals. Most of this subject relates to igneous processes, however many of the tools can be applied to a broad range of geological problems. These include dating the formation of sedimentary rocks and ore deposits, constraining the ages of metamorphic events, and unravelling palaeoclimate records.

In addition to learning the principles that underpin these techniques, emphasis is placed on how or when they are best applied. It is expected that by the end of the semester you will be able to explain how specific tools work and demonstrate both when it is appropriate, and how to apply them, to resolve petrogenetic problems.


This subject builds upon many skills you have already developed in first and second year. The application of geochemical data requires you to have a sound background in field observations, a broad knowledge of rock-forming processes, and an ability to identify minerals (and interpret textural information) preserved in thin-section.

For those wishing to pursue their study of Earth processes and petrogenesis, almost all third-year Geology subjects will deal with this in some form, and many Masters projects will draw upon topics included in this subject. In addition, the broad application of skills similar to those you will learn about in this subject are frequently well-illustrated in departmental seminars. You are strongly encouraged to form the habit of attending these.


A 2-hour practical examination during the semester (25%); a group project undertaken throughout the semester and presented to the class towards the end of semester (10%), an individual written assignment based on the group project of up to 2000 words due at the end of semester (10%); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (55%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:
  • Marjorie Wilson Igneous Petrogenesis, a global tectonic approach: (Unwin Hyman: ISBN 0-04-552025-9)
  • Gunter Faure Principles of Isotope Geology (Wiley & Sons: ISBN 0-471-86412-9)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

In this subject, students should recognise the importance of integrating the knowledge and skills obtained through years of study to tackle new and unfamiliar problems. This will require critical thinking and the organisation of materials delivered in lectures, together with the development of problem-solving skills via the laboratory exercises.

The group assignment is designed to enhance the ability for students to work as part of a team as well as improve their oral communication skills. The individual written assignment will provide an opportunity for students to further develop their written communication skills.


This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Geology

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