EAS 538 High-Temperature Geochemistry

Course Outline 2001

(revised 1/10/01)



Robert W. Luth

1-10 ESB




This course will concentrate on thermodynamics and its applications in geochemistry. To a certain extent, this course can be tailored to fit the interests of the students enrolled. If you don't let me know where your interests lie, then we'll talk about what I'm interested in.


Most of the course will focus on providing the student with the requisite background material in thermodynamics and phase equilibria. Topics that will be covered in this section include:


1.  Review of basic multicomponent thermodynamics.

2.  Thermodynamics of heterogeneous systems.

3.  Phase equilibria in unary, binary, and higher-order systems.

4.  Schreinemakers analysis.

5.  Calculation of phase diagrams; application to simple systems.

6.  Thermodynamics of solid and liquid solutions; applications to oxides and silicates.

7.  Use of heterogeneous equilibria to define intensive parameters (pressure, temperature, activities of components).

8.  Geochemistry and phase equilibria at high pressure and temperature.


Problem Sets:

There will be weekly or biweekly problem sets assigned; some of the problem sets will require the use of spreadsheets for calculations, or other specialized programs (e.g., Thermocalc). I need to know what access you have to PCs.


Term Projects:

The course will end with seminar presentations by the students that summarize the current “state-of-the-art” on solution models for specific minerals. Each student will select a mineral to examine in consultation with the instructor. In addition, the students will be responsible for a short paper summarizing their findings on the same subject, which will be distributed to the other students for future use.

Grading Scheme:


Problem Sets


Term Project


Midterm Exam


Final Exam




None required; readings to be assigned as required. Copies of the readings will be made available to the students.