Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment


Dr Oliver Nebel



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


This unit focuses on the internal structure of the Earth, plate tectonics and related magmatism/volcanism. We will study how and when rocks melt, and how melts evolve into a variety of magmatic rocks as observed in the field, hand specimen, and under the microscope. We will also study how we determine the age of rocks, the Earth and the solar system. Hydrogeology discusses the flow of groundwater in the shallow Earth's crust and the chemistry of groundwater as an indication of past and present hydrogeological processes, including contamination, salinity, and acid mine drainage


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Understand the large-scale internal structure and composition of the Earth and its various reservoirs;

  1. Recognise where and when melting takes place on Earth to create magmas and how to discriminate between different magmas and their tectonic settings using various geochemical methods;

  1. Understand the dynamics of the Earth's mantle and crust in more detail and the mantle-crust relationship;

  1. Identify igneous rocks and minerals in hand specimen and by using the petrographic microscope - this will then allow the student to propose the likely magmatic history and tectonic setting of unknown igneous rock samples;

  1. Discover the basis of groundwater flow and geochemistry in determining hydrogeological processes and the application of this to environmental issues (eg. salinity and acid mine drainage);

  1. Identify the behaviour of minerals and the roles they play in biogeochemical systems;

  1. Understand the nature and relationship of the terrestrial planets and meteorites in our solar system.


Practical work: 25%
Practical exam: 15%
Examination (3 hours): 60%

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour practical class per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study