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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Advances in Metamorphism (EASC10073)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe study of metamorphic rocks and their implications for understanding mountain belts and the tectonic evolution of the Earth has undergone a radical transformation over the past decade - with extreme metamorphism at ultrahigh T and P being now recognised as central to any models for the Earth, vastly improved thermodynamic methods allowing better P-T estimation, and advances in mineral dating enabling much better time constraints to be placed on processes.

This course will cover these advances. Formal lectures, tutorials and practical sessions will be complemented by assignments and exercises undertaken by the students.

The following topic areas will be covered:

- The Phase Rule and its applications
- Schrienemakers analysis and chemographic principles
- Divariant equilibria and P-X, T-X and pseudosection analysis
- Applications of phase diagrams to UHT rocks
- Ti-Zr thermometry for UHT rocks
- Zircon isotopic and Monazite chemical dating and P-T-time records

Practical (laboratory examination of material, graphical analysis and computer-based calculations of equilibria) will accompany some of these topics.

The option will utilise a basic knowledge of mineralogy, chemical equilibria, geochemistry and metamorphic petrology drawn from G3 course work.
Course description The syllabus is constructed from the following topic areas. Not all of these may be covered in any one year, depending on student numbers and experience (e.g. MEarthSci / honours level).
- The Phase Rule, Chemographics and Metamorphic Phase Diagrams:from AFM to Schreinemakers┐ analysis, and to calculated P-T pseudosections and further contoured phase diagrams.
- Advances in thermometry of UHT rocks using Ti in zircon and quartz, and Zr in rutile. Results, implications, caveats.
- Reaction textures: Principles of interpretation and caveats, the roles of fluids, formation mechanisms, examples. P-T grid, Pseudosection and other forms of analysis.
- Advances in accessory mineral age dating: Zircon behaviour and linkage to P-T via reactions and chemistry; Monazite and its behaviour; P-T-time paths and implications for rates and settings.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs none
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. An understanding of the graphical and thermodynamic principles and techniques used in the analysis of mineral equilibria in high-grade metamorphism.
  2. An appreciation of the recent advances in the ways in which the understanding of metamorphism and metamorphic processes have developed through thermodynamic and experimental approaches.
  3. Enhancement of skills to perform thermodynamic calculations on metamorphic examples to extract P-T information.
  4. Enhancement of petrographic skills to integrate the calculations and mineral age data with microtextural observations to construct P-T-t records of crustal rocks.
  5. Development of a detailed knowledge and understanding of a selected UHT area involving the critical appraisal of relevant current literature.
Reading List
Orogenesis: the making of mountains (MRW Johnson & SL Harley, CUP, 2012)

Papers from the following issues of Elements:

Zircon - Tiny but Timely (volume 3, number 1, February 2007)
Thermodynamics of Earth Systems (volume 6, number 5, October 2010)
When the Continental Crust Melts (volume 7, number 4, August 2011)
One Hundred years of Geochronology (volume 9, number 1, February 2013)

Further references specific to selected case studies are provided in the course website at the time of setting of those case studies.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Use of computer programs for calculation of equilibria
Preparation of report on lab investigation
Production of report on a literate exapmle of UHT
Presentation skills
KeywordsEASC10073 metamorphismthermodynamicsphase diagramsaccessory mineralsU-Pb geochronologyP-T pathUHT
Course organiserProf Simon Harley
Tel: (0131 6)50 8547
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Thomas
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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