Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Igneous Geology: Geochemistry, Geochronology and Volcanology EARTH4072

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Exploration of processes involved in the generation and evolution of igneous rocks and the techniques used to study them and their associated volcanic hazards. The course is taught through a combination of lectures, laboratories, and both residential and day field classes.


Four classes per week for 3.5 weeks (2 hr lecture and 1 hr lab per class - held as workshops). Local 1 day field class. 8-day residential field class.

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of all credit-bearing courses from Earth Science Level 2 at an average Grade C3 or better, achieving at least a Grade of D3 in each individual course and attendance at the residential field class.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4013 - Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry

EARTH4014 - Isotope Geology


Written examination (50%), portfolio of field-based activities (25%), integrated practical exercise (25%).

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

The aim of this course is to develop students' understanding of fundamental processes in igneous geology. This will include: determining mantle sources; magma genesis and evolution; the geochronology of rocks and the rates of igneous processes; and volcanic hazards and their monitoring techniques. Aspects of magmatic emplacement, physical volcanology and hazards will be evaluated in the field.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Outline and discuss the petrogenesis of mantle- and crustally-derived magmas using a variety of petrographic and geochemical datasets, including radiogenic and stable isotopes.

■ Apply equations to model simple petrogenetic processes.

■ Critically evaluate and apply dating methodologies for igneous rocks.

■ Describe and interpret volcanic rocks in the field and propose eruption histories and modes of deposition or emplacement.

■ Distinguish a variety of volcanic and volcano-associated hazards in the field, and explain how hazards may be monitored at active volcanoes using remote sensing techniques.

■ Use geological maps/geo-spatial data to evaluate volcanic hazards and the emplacement and distribution of igneous bodies.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.