GEOL336-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Magmatic Systems and Volcanology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


Study of magmatic systems including the nature and origin of igneous materials and links with the physical processes of volcanology.

This course is designed to examine the nature, origin, and interpretation of igneous rocks and mineral assemblages, as well as the magmatic processes that have produced these materials. Additionally, it aims to develop an understanding of the petrological evolution of the crustal lithosphere within a modern plate dynamic framework. Students taking this course will receive a broad grounding in the experimental, petrographical and geochemical aspects of igneous petrogenesis and magmatic processes. Emphasis will also be given to the petrological aspects of volcanology, which will benefit those students wishing to do volcanological research. This course consists of two lectures and one laboratory class in each week of the second semester.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcomes
    Students successfully completing this course will:
  • Realize the importance of igneous rocks in geology and to society.
  • Identify and classify igneous rocks and their geological environments.
  • Use geochemistry to explain why magma is generated, diversifies and erupts.
  • Use geochemical data, thin sections, and maps to reconstruct the magmatic and volcanological histories.
  • Discuss physical volcanological processes with relevance to magma properties.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


GEOL242 and any 15 points at 200 level from GEOL

Timetable Note

Week #  -  Lectures (2)  -  Labs (2.5 hrs)  -  Lecture 1 (1 hr)  -  Lecture 2 (1 hr)

1  -  Introduction  -  Major elements in magmas  -  M&M magma chamber
2  -  Trace elements in magmas  -  Isotopes in magmas  -  M&M magma chamber and geochemistry
3  -  Mantle melting  -  Two-component phase diagrams  -  Lyttelton petrology and geochemistry
4  -  Three-component phase diagrams  -  Magma diversification  -  Phase diagrams
5  -  Oceanic arc systems and granitoids  -  Continental arc systems  -  Granites
6  -  Oceanic intraplate volcanism & flood basalts  -  Summary  -  Iceland petrology and geochemistry (in lab exam format)
7  -  Volc introduction  -  Lava  -  Fudge lab (lava exercise)
8  -  Volatile content and its influence on eruption style  -  Explosive volcanism  -  Airfall (in lab exam format)
9  -  Pyroclastic flows  -  Mass flows  -  Ignimbrites
10  -  Calderas  -  Ballistics  -  Explosion
11  -  Iceland (Reykjanes)  -  Iceland (Heimaey)  -  Final Lab Exam (testing Alex’s and Ben’s parts of the course)
12  -  Iceland (Eiyja)  -  Iceland (Krafla)  -  Magma drillers

Course Coordinator

Ben Kennedy


Alex Nichols and Jonathan Davidson


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Participation (Lab 5% Class 5%) 10% Participation (Lab 5% Class 5%)
Laboratory Examination 30% Final Laboratory Examination from both terms (Week 11)
Virtual Field Trip 20% Virtual Field Trip
Final examination 40% Final examination

Relationship of GEOL336 to other courses
You cannot take GEOL336 without first completing GEOL242. GEOL336 is a prerequisite for GEOL474 (Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry), and students wishing to take GEOL476 (Volcanology) are strongly recommended to take this course.

Laboratory weeks 1-10 (5%) Class weeks 1-10 (5%) participation  -  10%
Final Laboratory Examination from both terms (Week 11)  -  30%
Virtual Fieldtrip week 11 and 12 participation (10%) and reflection (10%)  -  20%
Final Examination from both terms (Closed Book; 3 hours; UC Exam Period)  -  40%

Lab classes will comprise a mix of microscope work, geochemical data analysis and computer-assisted learning:
• Introductory labs on igneous petrographic nomenclature and thin section descriptions
• Introduction to the use of geochemical data on igneous rocks to describe and identify magmatic processes
• Edible and explosive igneous experiments.

Participation in lab will be assessed by the full completion of the lab.
Participation in lecture will be assessed by the completion and handing in of in class assignments.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Winter, John D; Principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology ; 2nd ed; Prentice Hall, 2010.

Recommended Reading

Deer, W. A. , Howie, R. A., Zussman, J; An introduction to the rock-forming minerals ; 2nd ed.; Longman Scientific & Technical ; Wiley, 1992.

Shelley, David; Igneous and metamorphic rocks under the microscope : classfication, textures, microstructures, and mineral preferred-orientations ; 1st ed.; Chapman & Hall, 1993.

Shelley, David; Optical mineralogy ; 2nd ed; Elsevier, 1985.

Volcanology texts are posted on the learn website- Practical volcanology, and Encyclopedia of volcanoes

Course links

Library portal


Topics to be covered include:
• Mineralogical and chemical classification of igneous rocks; igneous associations and relationships with global tectonic settings.
• Basalt crystallization and the origin of basalt magmas.
• Classification and nomenclature of granites; origin, emplacement and tectonic significance of granitoids using especially NZ examples.
• Petrological structure of intra-oceanic and continental arcs and petrogenesis of subduction-related magmas.
• Mafic-felsic magma interactions in high level magma chambers.
• Volcanic processes with emphasis on lava, ballistics, pyroclastic flows, lahars and debris avalanches.
• Geochemical, volatile, and crystallisation influences on eruption style and experimental volcanology.
• Controls on magma viscosity.
• Iceland case study.
Participation in lecture will be assessed by the completion and handing in of in class assignments.
Schedule of Laboratory Classes
Laboratory classes will be assigned by timetabling and will take place in the 300 level lab, Room 220, Geological Sciences Department. Each student will be allocated a polarising microscope.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $900.00

International fee $4,250.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the departments and faculties page .

All GEOL336 Occurrences

  • GEOL336-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020