• 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
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Antony Burnham
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to understand the processes and environments in which magmatic and metamorphic rocks form, including the following topics: the relations between crystallisation and deformation in metamorphic rocks and their link to evolution of orogens; reconstruction of plate tectonic processes from detailed investigation at a grain scale; construction and detailed interpretation of phase diagrams; the role of fluid phases and the use of mineralogy, trace elements, and radiogenic and stable isotopes to constrain magmatic and metamorphic processes.

Laboratory: Characterisation and interpretation of microstructures in igneous and metamorphic rocks using the optical microscope, numerical modelling of trace element fractionation, construction and interpretation of phase diagrams, and fieldwork.


Honours pathway option (HPO)

Additional coursework exercises, of greater conceptual difficulty and requiring an advanced scientific understanding, will be made available for students enrolled in the Honours pathway option (HPO).

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Recognise key metamorphic and magmatic minerals in hand specimens and thin sections and classify magmatic and metamorphic rocks based on their mineralogy.
  2. Reconstruct conditions of rock formation from the texture and composition of minerals.
  3. Explain rock forming processes and their links to tectonic environments.
  4. Construct phase diagrams and use them to interpret rock textures and rock forming processes.
  5. Interpret petrological information from the scientific literature.
  6. Perform calculations to model the behaviour of trace and major elements, and interpret the results.
  7. Understand igneous and metamorphic processes.

Other Information

There will be a cost for the fieldtrip - to be advised. 2019 cost was $60.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Laboratory work (20) [LO 2,4,6]
  2. Field excursion report (10) [LO 1,3,5]
  3. Poster presentation (20) [LO 5]
  4. Theory examination (20) [LO 3,7]
  5. Practical examination (20) [LO 1,6]
  6. In-class quizzes (10) [LO 7]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures plus 1 x 3 hour practical per week.
  • A two day field trip to Cooma (dates will be advertised in the class summary)
  • Approximately 55 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

In this course students learn how to identify and analyse rocks and minerals, which requires students to

  • make and interpret visual observations.

Students who cannot meet this requirement will not be able to complete compulsory assessment tasks and therefore will not be able to complete the course.

Students in this course must typically participate in an approximately two day field trip. This requires students to:

  • Travel to the field location and stay nearby.
  • Safely traverse short distances (approximately 10 - 500m) over uneven terrain.

Students who cannot meet these requirements may be able to negotiate alternative participation and assessment requirements with the course convenor. Please see the trip information page for more information.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed EMSC2017 or EMSC2024. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed GEOL3024 or EMSC6024.

Prescribed Texts




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
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3710 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person View

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