Environmental geochemistry

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The aim of the course is to give a qualitative and quantitative introduction to the geochemistry of aquatic environmental systems. The course includes qualitative concepts such as mineral and aqueous species stability, chemical weathering of minerals and rocks, compositions of natural and polluted waters, and global geochemical cycles. The course will incorporate quantitative concepts such as an introduction to thermodynamic data and their use in environmental geochemistry calculations, how to generate stability diagrams for minerals/aqueous solutions, and understanding how rates of reactions are quantified (kinetics). Practical calculations will include use of geochemical and thermodynamic data to solve problems relating to the composition and speciation of elements in natural and polluted waters, fluid-rock and fluid-fluid interactions, and give an introduction to geochemical modeling of water-rock reactions.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course GEOV243the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student

  • has an understanding of the basic concepts of kinetics and equations that govern rates of reactions
  • can demonstrate the main chemical elements and compounds of river water and sea water, their origins and differences

The student

  • is able to explain important principles for oceanic element budgets and mass balances
  • can summarize the most important global carbon reservoirs and the fluxes between these, and explain the most important processes that control the global carbon cycle
  • can demonstrate the construction and balancing of chemical equations for weathering and other important geochemical reactions
  • can implement thermodynamic data to calculate the solubility of minerals and construct stability diagrams

General competence
The student

  • can apply geochemical analyses of rocks and waters to determine and quantify water-rock reactions
  • can demonstrate the most important factors that control weathering rates

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

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

Instruction will be in the form of lectures and tutorial classes (written practicals), and homework problem sets

Lectures: 2 hours a week

Laboratory activities or tutorial seminars: 2 hours a week for 8 weeks.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Assignments. Compulsory assignments are valid for 3 semesters, including the semester they were approved.
Forms of Assessment
Portfolio assessment.
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
Portfolio assessment only in the teaching semester.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department
Examination Support Material
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