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Unit information: Aqueous Geochemistry in 2015/16

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Unit name Aqueous Geochemistry
Unit code EASCM0045
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1A (weeks 1 - 6)
Unit director Professor. Sherman
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of years 1-3 of either the Environmental Geoscience or Geology degree programme curriculum.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will include thermodynamics and kinetics of aqueous solutions and mineral-solution equilibria that control the geochemistry of aquatic environments and crustal fluids.

Practical skills will focus on the application of computational models using standard computer codes.

Applications will include the fate of environmental contaminants, acid-mine drainage, the chemistry of groundwater, rivers, lakes and the oceans; C02 sequestration, the formation of ore deposits.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the role of mineral dissolution/precipitation, ion exchange, sorption and complexation reactions in determining the chemistry of the oceans, rivers, lakes, groundwater and ore-forming fluids.
  • Be able to model the thermodynamics and kinetics of complex aquatic systems using a standard computer code (PHREEQC).
  • Understand how transport processes (advection and diffusion) couple with kinetics to cause departures from equilibrium in open systems.

Teaching Information

Lectures and practicals

Assessment Information


The unit mark will be based on independent coursework (50%) and a final 2 hour exam (50%). The exam will assess students' understanding of the fundamental concepts applied in the unit, while the coursework will assess students' ability to apply the concepts to practical problems.


Feedback will be provided on the practical write-ups. A review session prior to the exam will also be provided.

Reading and References

  • Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Water-Rock Interaction (Oelkers and Schott, eds.), Rev. in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 70, 569 pps
  • Zhu C. and Anderson, G. (2002) Environmental Applications of Geochemical Modeling, 294pps, Cambridge University Press
  • Langmuir D. (1997) Aqueous and Environmental Geochemistry. 600pps. Prentice Hall.