GEOL40190 Igneous Petrology and Ore Geology

Academic Year 2023/2024

The module examines the causes of magma generation, magma evolution and igneous rock formation in a variety of both modern plate tectonic settings and ancient, less well-understood, tectonic settings. It also deals with a number of major types of metallic mineral deposit though study of well-researched examples. The intention is to gain an understanding of current research in these areas and to be able to compare and evaluate competing hypotheses through critical reading and discussion of research publications and through petrographic examination of igneous rocks and mineralized rocks.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Critically evaluate, both orally in seminars and in written work, research articles on a variety of topics in igneous petrology and ore geology.
2. Plot, manipulate and carry out calculations on geochemical and isotope data and draw conclusions about the origin and evolution of magmas.
3. Make detailed petrographic descriptions of igneous rocks and from these descriptions draw conclusions on the origin, evolution and crystallization of these rocks.
4. Make detailed petrographic descriptions of mineralized rocks and from these descriptions draw conclusions on the mineralizing processes involved.

Indicative Module Content:

Igneous Petrology – 12 x 2-hour sessions including lectures, seminars and practical work.

1 and 2 Komatiites
Lecture and seminar focusing on petrogenesis including the question of magma water content, tectonic setting and conditions of crystallization; practical on description and interpretation of komatiites in thin section from Munro Township, Ontario. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

3 and 4 Lunar igneous petrology
Lecture and seminar focusing on the sources of information on lunar igneous petrology, the origin of the Moon, its early differentiation and mechanisms generating lunar basalts; practical based on description and textural interpretation of virtual microscope images of NASA lunar thin sections. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

5 and 6 Carbonatite magmatism
Lecture and seminar focusing on active volcanism at Oldoinyo Lengai, the relationships between carbonatite and alkaline silicate magmatism, the processes of carbonatite magma formation and the origin of mantle carbonate; practical based on description and interpretation of thin sections of rocks form the Palabora Complex, South Africa. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

7 and 8 Mid-ocean ridge basalts
Mantle melting at constructive plate margins. Mantle upwelling, melting columns sampling of heterogeneities. Influence of spreading rates, lithosphere thickness and regional temperature anomalies. Mechanisms of magma differentiation. Magmatic products and thermal/thickness evolution of oceanic crust. Insights from very slow spreading centres (SWIR and Gakkel). Constraints from melt inclusion studies. (Prof. P.F. McDermott)

9 and 10 Destructive plate margin magmatism
Subduction of oceanic crust and dehydration reactions. Fate of subducted slabs and sediments. Temperature profile through a subduction zone. Influence of volatiles on mantle solidus. Volatile transport into mantle wedge. Rates of wedge convection, replenishment and depletion. Magmatic products and their distinctive geochemistry. Data analysis using Excel to do basic calculations (Mg#) and data plotting. Interpretation of trace element ratio vs. isotope ratio correlations. (Prof. P.F. McDermott)

11 and 12 Intra-plate magmatism
Oceanic intra-plate magmatism. Ocean island basalts, their petrology and geochemistry. Initiation and evolution of mantle plumes. Asthenospheric and lithospheric contributions to magmatism. The nature and causes of mantle heterogeneity. Geophysical and geochemical evidence for heterogeneity on a range of scales. Preservation of heterogeneities. Links between ocean island magmatism and flood basalt provinces. Models for mantle structure and convection. Petrography practical on potassic and sodic intra-plate volcanic and plutonic rocks. (Prof. P.F. McDermott)

Ore Petrology – 10 x 2-hour sessions, including lectures, seminars and practical work, and a one-day field class to examine an active mineral exploration site in Ireland (venue to be confirmed). This excursion depends on collaboration with a mineral exploration company and if it has to be cancelled because of their operational reasons, there will be an additional 2 x 2-hour sessions on Bushveld PGE ores (see below) in its place.

1 and 2 The Navan Zn-Pb ore deposit, Co. Meath
Lecture and seminar focusing on the geological setting of the Navan deposit, the origin of fluid and dissolved materials, the role of faults, processes of ore precipitation and the timing of mineralization; practical introduces reflected light microscopy, followed by description and interpretation of Navan Zn-Pb ore in polished thin section. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

3 and 4 The Central African Copperbelt
Lecture and seminar focusing on the syles and timing of mineralization relative to deposition, diagenesis and faulting in the Central African Copperbelt, and origin of ore fluids and metals; practical on description and interpretation of Cu sulphide ore from Chibuluma, Zambian Copperbelt, in polished thin section. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

5 and 6 Porphyry ore deposits
Lecture and seminar focusing on the relationship of mineralization to host intrusions, chemical partitioning between magmas and hydrothermal fluids, the relationship between hydrothermal alteration and mineralization, and processes leading to ore deposition; practical on description and interpretation of Los Pelambres porphyry copper ore, Argentina in polished thin section. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

7 and 8 Iron oxide apatite (IOA) and iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) ore deposits
Lecture and seminar focusing on arguments for hydrothermal vs magmatic Fe oxide ores, models for origin of fluids and dissolved constituents in IOCG deposits, age relationships relative to host igneous rocks and the tectonic settings of IOCG mineralization; practical on description and interpretation of Fe oxide-P-REE ores of Pea Ridge, southeast Missouri in ordinary and polished thin section. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

9 and 10 Magmatic Ni-Cu-Co-PGE ores
Lecture and seminar focusing on magmatic processes leading to sulphide mineralization in the Sudbury and Noril’sk District intrusions, including sulphide liquid PGE enrichment and sulphide enrichment processes; practical on description and interpretation of Ni-Cu ores of Sudbury, Ontario in polished thin section. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

Mineral exploration field class
A one-day field class to an area of active mineral exploration in Ireland. Provisionally, this will be to localities in the south Leinster spodumene pegmatite belt, where several exploration companies are active. Spodumene pegmatites are the world's chief source of lithium, for which demand is rising because of its use in electric vehicle batteries. The field class will include a lecture on the geology of the south Leinster spodumene pegmatite belt, short visits to a few field localities, examination of exploration drill core and an introduction to how mineral exploration companies do their work. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

Bushveld PGE ores (if mineral exploration field class unavailable)
Lecture and seminar focusing on input to, and output from, the Bushveld magma chamber, and magmatic and hydrothermal processes leading to chromite, magnetite and platinum group element enrichments; practical on description and interpretation of Merensky Reef pegmatoid in ordinary and polished thin section. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities

22

Autonomous Student Learning

27

Lectures

11

Seminar (or Webinar)

8

Practical

25

Field Trip/External Visits

7

Total

100

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students will learn through a range of methods designed to reinforce each other. These include a series of face to face lectures, seminars and practical classes, the last examining rock hand specimens and thin sections as evidence of petrogenetic and metallogenetic processes. Lectures and research publications will form the basis for student-led seminars and for students' written summaries of research. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Pre-requisite:
GEOL30240 - Igneous Petrology, GEOL30380 - Geomaterials and Geoenergy

Incompatibles:
GEOL40280 - Petrology & Ore Geology


 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Continuous assessment of practical work. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No

25

No
Examination: Two-hour practical exam on igneous and ore geology. Unspecified No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No

25

No
Examination: Two-hour written exam. Unspecified No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No

50

No

Carry forward of passed components
No
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive individual written feedback on work that has been graded for continuous assessment, supplemented by oral feedback to the whole class, and this will also act as feedback prior to the end of trimester practical exam. Discussion with individual students and the whole class during seminars and practical classes will include feedback given prior to assessment.

Name Role
Professor Frank McDermott Lecturer / Co-Lecturer