This course focuses on the chemistry
of the natural world and the chemical evolution of the Earth over geological
time. We will discuss practical and theoretical geochemistry, with an emphasis
on how chemical principles are used to study Earth Sciences. The course
is composed of a three modules: (a) geochemical fundamentals; (b) natural
and anthropogenically perturbed aspects of the Earth's hydrosphere and
its interaction with surficial rocks, sediments, soils, the biosphere and
the atmosphere and (c) the origin and evolution of Earth (crust-mantle-core)
and the solar system through nuclear and high temperature chemical processes.
High temperature geochemistry -
The Elements; basic principles
chemistry, periodic properties
Thermodynamics and chemical
Aquatic Chemistry, pH-pE,
Biology and redox
Low temperature geochemistry - The
cycle and Sedimentary geochemistry
Age and Origin of the Solar
differentiation of the Earth.
GG Learning Objectives:
Aquatic Microbial Biochemistry in rain, rivers, lakes, estuaries
Chemical weathering, soil
The oceans, marine chemistry,
Gaia, Marine Sediments: a record of environmental global history, light
Global Climate: Present and
GG department has defined 5 learning objectives for the undergraduate degree program. These are related to Relevance of Geology and Geophysics, Technical knowledge, Scientific method, Oral and written skills, and Evaluating Phenomena. This course directly incorporates content relevant to 4 of those objectives:
- SLO1 - throughout the course you will learn about the relevance of geochemistry to understanding and providing for human needs, and to impacts on society and planet Earth.
- SLO2 - you will solve problems using real world data sets
- SLO4 - you will reconstruct knowledge in a written report (final project).
- SLO5 - in all assignments you will evaluate, interpret, and summarize basic principles to explain complex phenomena at the interfaces of chemistry, geology, biology, hydrology, soil science, geography and human industry.
This class is about using chemical information and chemical reasoning to better understand geological, hydrological and biological process and their interplays on Earth. We will use quantitative and qualitative approaches to learn how the compositions of Earth materials constrain active processes and Earth history.
Assessment and Grading:
You will have a variety of exercises this semester to help you learn the material and demonstrate as much. I use points and then assign grades at the end of the semester using a "semi-curve" (i.e., I don't base grades on the standard 90%=A, 80%=B, etc. formula, but instead, compare overall class performance and the performance of highest and lowest scoring assignments to devise a scoring formula). If you are ever concerned about your performance in the class, come by my office and speak with me. Although I don't assign letter grades until the end of the semester, I can tell you at any time approximately "how you stand". Class participation/attendance is not mandatory, but it can make the difference in borderline grading situations. Grades will based on:
Grades will based on:
a. midterm exam (25%)
b. problem sets (30%)
c. your course Journal (20%).
d. written final project (25%).
Please turn homework assignments in
on time. Grading penalties of 10% per day will apply unless a valid
reason for a late assignment is discussed with me ahead of time.
Reading and Text:
Reading will likely take
2-3 hours per week. Reading assignments are from White, Geochemistry (Wiley-Blackwell). The book should be available in the bookstore. I have access to unedited pdfs from an older version of the book if someone prefers this, but if you use them it will your responsibility to check them against a copy of the written book for consistency (for instance end of chapter homework problems).
This is a lecture course. I encourage you to actively ask questions in class, particularly if you do not understand something I am discussing. Most of the important material will be discussed in class, but is also typically covered in more detail in the reading assignments. It will help you get the most out of the lectures If you keep up with the reading.
These are available for
students to download(usually the day before the lecture) from
www.soest.hawaii.edu/krubin/gg325.html. These are
not required reading, nor are they a substitute for taking your
own notes. They are meant to be a guide to lecture content.