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GEOL464 Advanced Topics in Igneous Processes

Practical and theoretical investigations of magmatic rock suites, with the goal of understanding the processes that lead to volcanism on Earth.

Paper title Advanced Topics in Igneous Processes
Paper code GEOL464
Subject Geology
EFTS 0.0833
Points 10 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $704.22
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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GEOL 422

This is an honours / first-year MSc paper, and students are expected to have a bachelor's degree in Geology, or equivalent, including undergraduate papers on igneous rocks and geochemistry.


Teaching staff

Co-ordinators: Professor James White or Dr Marco Brenna

Paper Structure


  • Review of petrology and geochemistry
  • Context of Otago volcanism and field trip
  • Geochemistry of Dunedin Volcanic Group (DVG)
  • The mantle beneath Otago
  • Partial melting and melt extraction
  • Magmatic evolution in the DVG
  • Volcanic systems
  • How central is central volcanism?
  • Timescales of volcano growth
  • Cryptodomes, sills, dikes
  • Joints: thermal and other
  • Enclaves, magma mingling, mixing timescales
  • Review
Teaching Arrangements

In person or Zoom seminars, plus self-directed reading and analysis.


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Course outline

Course outline (previous syllabus is indicative of content the next time the paper is taught).

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • Thorough understanding of the mechanisms and processes controlling magmatic generation, evolution, ascent and eruption (Scholarship, Interdisciplinary perspective)
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the different physical components of a volcano's plumbing system and how they result and modify the landscape (Critical thinking, Self-motivation)
  • In-depth knowledge of the interaction between magmas and Earth's surface and the resulting eruptions and effects on society (Environmental literacy)
  • Confidence in the ability to design and undertake volcanic-related field and laboratory research and to communicate information and ideas, both orally and in writing, resulting from own work (Research, Communication, Information literacy)

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system