Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course reviews igneous activity in different tectonic environments, including continental rifts, oceanic spreading ridges and subduction zones as well as within tectonic plates. The second part of the course will familiarize with principles of metamorphic petrology with emphasis on the importance of fluid-rock interactions.

After a short introduction, the course describes igneous phase diagrams and mineral phase relationships. This theoretical knowledge is put in use to explain melting and crystallization of magmatic liquids and portrays these processes in various magmatic environments related to plate tectonic on Earth. Subsequently, the course will introduce metamorphic petrology, metamorphic textures, and nomenclature, familiarize with the interpretation of metamorphic phase diagrams, and discuss metamorphism of different rock types and in different geodynamic settings. Fundamental principles of geothermobarometry, reactive fluid flow, and hydrothermal mineral deposits will be discussed in the final part of the course. The theoretical lectures will be accompanied by practical exercises including petrological observations in thin sections of selected samples, CIPW norms, simple igneous and metamorphic phase diagrams.

Learning Outcomes


The student can

  • explain phase relationships in simple phase diagrams
  • explain the differences between open and closed systems
  • explain the physical process of magma formation by partial melting of the mantle
  • describe magmatic differentiation, mixing and contamination changing magmatic melts on their way to the surface
  • explain the petrological and geochemical characteristics of different plate tectonic environments
  • discuss the relationship between geodynamic setting and metamorphic facies
  • summarize the importance of fluids for mineral replacement reactions
  • identify the main types of hydrothermal ore deposits


The student can

  • identify (demonstrate?) the connection between geodynamic setting and the nature of magmatic/metamorphic
  • interpret simple geochemical variation and metamorphic phase diagrams
  • describe and interpret the textures of igneous and metamorphic rocks
  • discuss the different metamorphic environments and products
  • Infer metamorphic conditions based on petrological observations

General competence

The student can

  • plot data and make simple calculation on excel
  • construct simple phase diagrams using relevant software
  • read and find relevant information in a scientific article
  • use a microscope and recognize rock texture and mineral assemblages
  • describe a magmatic or metamorphic rock samples
Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a program of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
  • Lectures two times a week, à 2 hours.
  • Practical 1 time a week à 2 hours
  • Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

    The students must complete 4 tasks in order to be allowed get final assessment in the course:

    - Rock description in thin section and hand sample (1 in igneous and 1 in metamorphic petrology)

    - Excel based practical, calculating a petrogenetic model

    - Exercise on metamorphic phase diagram calculation

    Forms of Assessment

    Course portfolio with assessment of the three tasks during the semester:

    - Assessment of the rock descriptions
    - Assessment of the seminar
    - Assessment of the excel-practical.

    All parts of the course must be handed in and evaluated to get final assessment in the course.

    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 in spring semester. Assessment is only offered in the actual semester in which teaching is given.
    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 is found at 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.