Igneous Petrology and Volcanology

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Igneous Petrology and Volcanology

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    GEOL 251

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Global context of magmatism and systematic description and quantitative interpretation of volcanic and plutonic rocks; phase equilibria and geochemical constraints on petrogenesis; physical processes of magma transport and eruption.

    'Igneous Petrology and Volcanology' covers the systematic description and quantitative interpretation of volcanic and plutonic rocks within a plate tectonic framework. We emphasise examination of selected igneous suites in hand sample and thin section. You will learn to interpret phase equilibria, deposit characteristics, geochemical, textural, microtextural, and geochronologic features to interpret magma petrogenesis and controls on its emplacement at depth or eruption at the surface. Important mineral and geothermal resources are associated with igneous rocks, and the paper includes discussion of genetic relations between magmatic, geothermal, and ore-forming processes.

    Course Structure

    • Upper mantle structure, composition and partial melting; origin and differentiation of magmas at oceanic spreading ridge, rift and intraplate settings; trace element and isotope constraints on magma sources
    • Magma's physical characteristics, crustal magma transport, lava emplacement, effusive and explosive eruptions
    • One-day field trip to examine volcanic rocks of East Otago
    • Origin and differentiation of magmas in subduction zone settings; crustal partial melting; magma-related hydrothermal systems
    • Two-day field excursion to examine igneous rocks of the South Coast

    Learning Outcomes

    • Familiarity with advanced igneous petrographic mineral and texture identification
    • Understanding of how rocks melt to form magma
    • Understanding of magma characteristics and their chemical and physical controls
    • Ability to determine the chemical evolution of a magma
    • Understanding of how magma leaves its sources, and controls on whether it reaches the surface or is emplaced at depth
    • Understanding of how magma is effused or explosively erupted, and insight into the processes of lava flows and explosive fragmentation
    • Ability to interpret the deposits and/or observations of a volcanic eruption

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.