Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Introduction to Geochemistry

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeGEOV109
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageNorwegian. Parts of the course will be taught in English.
  • Resources

Main content

Objectives and Content

The course aims to give an introduction in how chemical principles are used to explain the mechanisms that control the large geological systems such as the Earth´s mantle, crust, ocean and atmosphere, and the formation of the solar system.

The course gives an introduction to fundamental geochemical tools and directions like aqueous geochemistry, trace element geochemistry and isotope geochemistry, and how these can be used to understand the formation of the elements and the solar system, the Earth´s geochemical composition and differentiation into different reservoirs, the age of rocks, global geochemical cycles, the surface environment, and chemical traces of early life.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student can

  • describe the composition of the Earth´s main geochemical reservoirs
  • explain element fractionation and how this can be used to understand endogenous and exogenous geochemical and geobiological processes
  • explain fractionation of stable isotopes and how such data can be used to understand various geochemical and geobiological processes
  • describe how radiogenic isotope signatures can be used to trace the source of minerals, rocks and fluids
  • describe the use of geochronology to date magmatic and metamorphic events
  • describe how chemical weathering of minerals and rocks control the composition of sediments/soil and natural water
  • explain why carbon dioxide and the carbonate system play an important role in weathering reactions
  • describe where the main global carbon reservoirs are, and the most important processes that control the global carbon cycle

The student can

  • construct chemical equations for mineral-water reactions and use equilibrium constants to calculate mineral solubility
  • use activity diagrams and Eh-pH diagram to illustrate mineral stability in different environments
  • use phase diagrams to describe formation and differentiation of silicate melts
  • use REE and trace element diagram to reconstruct formation environment of volcanic rocks
  • calculate epsilon values for various radiogenic isotopes and use these to describe their sources
  • calculate delta values for various stble isotopes and use these to describe fractionation
  • can calculate the age of rocks and minerals by central geochronological methods

General competence
The student

  • can use a precise scientific language to describe and discuss major geochemical processes
  • has competence in scientific ethics and the ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • can conduct field excursions in accordance to the HMS practice at GEO/UiB

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

It is mandatory attendance to exercises.

Mandatory activities are valid for the two subsequent semesters.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are: 4 hours written exam. Digital exam, please visit: http://www.uib.no/en/student/87471/digital-assessment-students

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

Course Coordinator

The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact studierettleiar@geo.uib.no

Course Administrator

The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program

Contact Information

The student coordinator can be contacted here:


Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    23.05.2023, 09:00
    4 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam