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Unit information: Advanced Igneous Petrology in 2021/22

Unit name Advanced Igneous Petrology
Unit code EASCM0049
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2D (weeks 19 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Myhill
Open unit status Not open

MSc Volcanology students should have a first degree in Geology and are also advised to talk to the programme director before selecting this unit as an option.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

The following topics will be explored:

  • Melting of crust and mantle rocks
  • Crystallisation of magmas, including kinetics
  • Volatile solubility in silicate melts
  • Application of ternary phase diagrams to igneous petrology
  • Methods of constraining magmatic variables, such as pressure, temperature, redox state
  • Case studies of selected volcanoes to illustrate crustal magmatic processes
  • Links between petrology and volcano monitoring
  • Application of thermodynamics to igneous processes
  • Experimental petrology
  • Microbeam analysis

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, you will be able to:

  • Understand melting and crystallisation processes with the Earth’s crust and mantle
  • Understand the controls on trace element distribution within the Earth
  • Understand the controls of volcanic gas chemistry
  • Determine magmatic intensive parameters using mineral and glass chemistry
  • Be aware of the different types of experimental and analytical equipment used in petrology
  • Link magmatic processes to the volcanic and plutonic rocks they produce
  • Use complex phase diagrams to interpret igneous rocks and their textures
  • Use thermodynamic data to describe igneous processes
  • Understand the links between magmatism and mineralisation
  • Describe the eruptive history of several case study volcanoes
  • Understand the importance of heat in driving crustal magmatism
  • Pursue a topic using search engines such as Web of Knowledge or Google Scholar
  • Synthesise a topic in igneous geology using published literature
  • Write an extended essay on a topic of igneous geology using primary literature sources

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials and, if subsequently possible, synchronous face-to-face lectures
  • synchronous office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative activities and exercises
  • guided, structured reading
  • practical work in the laboratory

Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete laboratory work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Information

Students will assessed by one written exam at the end of the unit (summative 100%).


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EASCM0049).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.