• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Geology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Ian Williams
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This Course will cover:

  • The origins of the elements, and their absolute and isotopic abundances in the solar system,
  • Fundamental geochemical controls of elemental distribution within the terrestrial planets,
  • The behaviour of elements in various mineral structure,
  • The composition of the major chemical reservoirs in Planet Earth (crust, mantle and core) and how they formed and changed composition through time using phase diagrams to describe the formation of major rock types such as granites and basalts,
  • The principles of stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry applied to understanding the time scales of evolution of different reservoirs in the Earth and tracing the processes that exchange materials between these reservoirs,
  • Approaches to geochronology,
  • Theory and analytical methods for determining the chemical and isotopic compositions of Earth materials.

Practical classes emphasise methods of geochemical data collection and presentation, and their quantitative evaluation and interpretation. They include the use of computers and visits to analytical laboratories.

Honours Pathway Option

Additional readings of greater conceptual difficulty requiring an advanced scientific understanding will be made available for students enrolled in the Honours Pathway Option. 20% of the marks available on the exams will be answers to alternate questions for HPO students. Proposed Assessment: Two theory and one practical examinations


NOTE: Graduate students (EMSC6015) attend joint classes with undergraduates but will be assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand element behaviour in a geological context and relate this to how elements redistribute within the Earth.

2. Distinguish the main chemical domains in the Earth, and think in terms of reservoir interaction.

3. Understand the major chemical and petrological processes that form and modify the Earth's crust and mantle

4. Plot and compare geochemical data from different rock types and reservoirs.

5. Use radiogenic and stable isotopes to trace geological processes and produce age data

6. Be familiar with the theory and operation of major methods for the analysis of rock and mineral samples. 

Indicative Assessment

UG Assessment will be based on theory exams and practicals.

  • Theory exam composed of essay questions to be held at a negotiated time before the mid-semester break (35% LO 1-4).
  • Theory exam composed of essay questions to be held at the end of the semester  (35% LO 1, 4-6).
  • 8 assignments on practicals out of the 12 made available distributed over the entire semester. Practical assignments will focus on handling, representation and calculation of data (30%, LO 3-6) 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


A maximum of 39 hours of lectures and 26 hours of laboratory classes including tutorials

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level EMSC or CHEM courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed GEOL2015 or EMSC6015.

Preliminary Reading

F Press and R Siever "Earth", Freeman and Company, New York  will contain background information for the student not familiar with geology.

Assumed Knowledge

CHEM1101 is highly desirable. EMSC2017 is strongly recommended.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3276
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7806 18 Jul 2016 29 Jul 2016 31 Aug 2016 28 Oct 2016 In Person N/A

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