Course content

This course is an upper level geology class that explores the origin and evolution of fluids on Earth, and their influence on major geodynamic processes in the mantle and crust.  The course will introduce thermodynamic and geochemical principles to help us understand  the origin of volatile species (fluids and gases) on Earth and their distribution in the solar system, the evolution of the oceans and atmosphere over geologic history, the influence of fluids on plate-tectonic processes in the mantle and continental crust, and the importance of fluids in the formation of mineable resources (hydrothermal energy, metal and mineral ores, oil and natural gas).  Less emphasis is placed on near surface hydrogeological phenomena.


BSc Programme in Chemistry

Learning outcome


At the end of this class the student should have a basic understanding of

  • Current theories on the origin, distribution and fate of volatile phases (fluids and gases) on Earth.
  • The thermodynamic principles that control fluid-mineral equilibria.
  • The importance of volatiles to plate tectonics processes, and the importance of plate tectonics to global cycles of volatile species (primarily water and CO2).
  • The relationship between geologic setting, fluid composition and the occurrence of mineral and energy natural resources.


At the end of this course the student will be able to

  • Use geochemical modeling software to evaluate simple chemical reactions in single or multi-phase (fluid and fluid-rock) systems.
  • Use dissolved species concentrations and stable isotope data to characterize fluid sources in different hydrothermal and metamorphic environments.
  • Identify mineralogical or geologic indicators consistent with specific styles of high-temperature fluid rock interaction (such as hydrothermal alteration, ore formation or metasomatism).


At the end of this course the student will be able to

  • Describe the geochemical tools and scientific methods used to understand processes relating to fluid-rock interactions.
  • Describe the geologic processes that control the distribution of volatile species on Earth and how this has changed over geologic time.
  • More effectively interpret scientific literature, and communicate scientific concepts in writing and oral presentation.

Primary teaching will be in the form of lecture, interactive laboratory activities with occasional associated homework, and guided discussions. In class learning should be supplemented by independent reading on the student’s part of assigned materials.

A basic understanding of geologic processes and materials, including principles of mineralogy, petrology and plate tectonics is requisite. Basic Geochemistry (Grundlæggende Geokemi) is highly recommended.

Formal and optional reading assignments will be made available in Absalon prior to the beginning of class.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Oral examination, 30 min.
Continuous assessment (50% of final grade) will be based on activities, short papers, or class presentations (1 per week) completed in class time or at home during weeks of teaching (represented as ‘project work’ in Workload, below). Oral examination (50% of final grade) is administered without preparation. The students will be asked 3 questions, randomly determined from the course content. The student has approximately 10 minutes to present an answer to each question.
Without aids

Blank paper and writing materials will be provided if students wish to sketch a figure or diagram to aid in the presentation of their answers.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

Refer to the expected learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 32
  • Theory exercises
  • 16
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 118
  • English
  • 206