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    Principles and applications of geochemistry to studies of rocks, ores, sediments, soils and natural waters.

    About this paper

    Paper title Advanced Topics in Geochemistry
    Subject Geology
    EFTS 0.0833
    Points 10 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $723.96
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    GEOL 422

    This is an honours / first-year MSc paper, and students are expected to have a bachelor's degree in Geology, or equivalent.


    Teaching staff

    Coordinator: Professor Claudine Stirling
    Dr Matthew Druce

    Paper Structure

    Weekly seminar sessions 1.5 h each


    • Introduction to isotope biogeochemistry
    • Trace element isotope systems and how they work as tracers and chronometers
    • Age and origin of the Solar System
    • Rise & fall of oxygen in Earth's early oceans and atmosphere during 'super-greenhouse' warming
    • Cool 'glacial' and 'warm' interglacial ocean and climate transitions of the Quaternary
    • Trace metal nutrients in the oceans and how they regulate of atmospheric CO2 and climate
    • Laboratory methods in isotope biogeochemistry


    Textbooks are not required for this paper
    Materials for this paper will be peer-reviewed journal articles and ebooks

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised

    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

    Learning Outcomes

    At completion of GEOL 462, students will have demonstrated:

    • Comprehensive understanding of how isotope biogeochemistry can be applied in the Earth Sciences with topics as diverse as the origin of the Solar System, the evolution of the early oceans and atmosphere in 'deep-time', and recent glacial-interglacial climate oscillations (Scholarship, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning)
    • Understanding of how knowledge of Earth's past ocean, atmosphere and climate interactions can inform likely scenarios of future climate
    • Commitment to intellectual openness and curiosity, and awareness of the limits of current knowledge (Interdisciplinary perspective, Self-motivation)
    • Enhanced ability to communicate information, arguments and analyses effectively, both orally and in writing (Communication, Teamwork)
    • Knowledge of sampling and analytical methods for measuring trace element isotope systems in a variety of Earth materials with wide-ranging applications in the Earth Sciences (Scholarship, Research)
    • Understanding of possible sources of uncertainty in geochemical data, the use of statistics to estimate accuracy and precision, and awareness of the limits of current knowledge (Research, Critical thinking)
    • Confidence in the ability to design and undertake research involving laboratory work and to communicate information and ideas, both orally and in writing, resulting from own work (Research, Communication, Information literacy)
    • Enhanced capacity to read relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature and to understand and critically evaluate interpretations made on the basis of geochemical data, and enhanced ability to consider different options and viewpoints (Scholarship, Research, Critical thinking)


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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