Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


The first section of this course deals with the fundamentals of geochemistry and phase petrology. The second section provides a detailed analysis of the major tectonic and petrological processes involved in the generation of the major igneous rock groups on the planet (basalts, andesites, granites). An overarching theme examines the changes in continental building processes through time, using the Australian continent as the example.



    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

    1. Describe and apply the concepts and scientific principles behind the major themes in petrology and be able to communicate and explain them effectively;

    2. Collect and collate observational and analytical data and use the information to critically evaluate existing/competing models;

    3. Solve qualitative problems using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques;

    4. Present observations and interpretations by detailed report format or via oral presentation;

    5. Adapt to (advice/evidence/feedback) received from a range or sources.


    The course is structured in the following order:

    Part A: Geochemistry & Petrology

    1.            Cosmochemistry – building the Earth      

    2.            Major element geochemistry and normative mineralogy

    3.            Trace element partitioning and computer modelling        

    4.            Radiogenic isotopes as petrogenetic tracers        

    5.            Binary phase equilibria  

    6.            Ternary phase equilibria


    Part B:  Crustal Evolution             

    7.            Creation of new oceanic crust at mid-ocean ridges & oceanic islands        

    8.            Creation of new continental crust at destructive plate margins: arc basalts            

    9.            Petrogenesis of andesites at destructive plate margins   

    10.          Chemical differentiation of the continental crust: petrogenesis of granites            

    11.          Crustal evolution: the S-I-A progression of granite magma types

    12.          Australian continental growth in the Palaeozoic & Mesozoic


    Students must have successfully completed GEOS2170 to enrol in this course.

    Assumed knowledge


    Assessment items

    Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Practicals - 5 reports to submit

    Presentation: Student Seminars

    Formal Examination: Formal Examination

    Contact hours



    Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 2


    Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1

    The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.