• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences

This Course will cover:

  • The origins of the elements, and their absolute and isotopic abundances in the solar system.
  • Meteorites and the formation of planets.
  • The chemistry of the Earth-Moon system.
  • Fundamental geochemical controls of the distribution of elements within Planet Earth.
  • Minerals as chemical compounds and the behaviour of elements in various mineral structures.
  • The composition of the major chemical reservoirs in Planet Earth (crust, mantle and core), and the processes that formed those reservoirs and changed their compositions through time.
  • The principles of stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry applied to understanding the time scales of evolution of different reservoirs in Planet Earth and tracing the processes that exchange materials between those reservoirs.
  • The principles and applications of radioisotope geochronology.
  • The theory and analytical methods for determining the chemical and isotopic compositions of terrestrial and extra-terrestrial materials.

Practical classes will emphasise methods for the collection, presentation, quantitative evaluation and interpretation of geochemical data. They will include the use of calculators and computers, and a visit to analytical laboratories. An optional one-day field trip to study igneous and metamorphic rocks will be run if requested by the majority of the class.

NOTE: Graduate students will attend joint classes with undergraduates, but will be assessed separately with 20% of marks from alternate questions.

Graduate students will be given additional reading of greater conceptual difficulty requiring a more advanced scientific understanding. 

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

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 (30% LO 1-4).
  • Theory exam composed of essay questions to be held at the end of the semester  (30% 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 (20%, LO 3-6) 
  • One essay on a selected topic (20%).

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 EMSC2015 or GEOL2015.

You will need to contact the Research School of Earth Sciences to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Preliminary Reading

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


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
2017 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4878
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
7733 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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