ESC3421 - Igneous and metamorphic processes and geochemistry - 2017

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


Associate Professor Andrew Tomkins

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit covers material on the petrology and geochemistry of the Earth's mantle and crust, their melting to generate silicate magmas and the emplacement of these magmas in and on the crust; also the basics of trace element and isotope geochemistry applied to the understanding of these processes. Metamorphic petrology extends the geochemical and petrological principles to understanding the formation of metamorphic rocks and using those rocks to elucidate processes in the Earth's crust.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify the various types of igneous and metamorphic rocks in hand specimen and their occurrence, context with other rock units, and distinctive features in natural field outcrops;
  2. Analyse the distinctive geochemical and petrographic features of igneous and metamorphic rocks;
  3. Further their knowledge of melting and magmatic crystallisation processes within the Earth's interior and the way magmas move toward the Earth's surface;
  4. Evaluate and constrain the geochemical sources and evolution of magmas within the silicate earth and identify their dominant controlling processes;
  5. Understand the processes that lead to the formation of metamorphic rocks at various crystal conditions;
  6. Understand how isotopes are used in geosciences and apply them in interpreting magmatic and metamorphic processes;
  7. Understand the links between plate tectonics, magma genesis and regional metamorphism, and apply that understanding to interpret the evolution of different tectonic domains.


Practical work: 30% + Practical assessments: 20% + Examination (3 Hours): 50%

Students must pass the theory examination to achieve an overall pass grade. Students who do not pass the theory examination will receive a mark of 45% unless their aggregate mark is lower, in which case that mark will be recorded.

Workload requirements

One 2-hour lecture 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



ESC2111 and ESC2122, or by permission from the Head of School


ESC3211, EC3212