12.480 | Fall 2006 | Graduate

Thermodynamics for Geoscientists


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

In this course, principles of thermodynamics are used to infer the physical conditions of formation and modification of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The course includes phase equilibria of homogeneous and heterogeneous systems and thermodynamic modeling of non-ideal crystalline solutions. It also surveys the processes that lead to the formation of metamorphic and igneous rocks in the major tectonic environments in the Earth’s crust and mantle.

Greenwood, H. J., ed. “Mineralogical Association of Canada - Short Course in the Application of Thermodynamics to Petrology and Ore Deposits.” Mineral Assoc Canada, 1977.

Wood, B. J., and D. G. Fraser. Elementary Thermodynamics for Geologists. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1977. ISBN: 9780198599265.

Fraser, D. G., ed. Thermodynamics in Geology. New York, NY: Springer; 1 edition., 1977. ISBN: 9789027707949.

Spear, F. S. “Metamorphic Phase Equilibria and Pressure-Temperature-Time Paths.” In Monograph. Washington, DC: Mineralogical Society of America, 1994. ISBN: 9780939950348.

Ricci, J. E. The Phase Rule and Heterogeneous Equilibrium. Temecula, CA: Textbook Publishers, 2003. ISBN: 0758110553.

Morse, S. A. Basalts and Phase Diagrams. New York, NY: Springer Verlag, 1980. ISBN: 9780387904771.

Ehlers, E. G. The Interpretation of Geological Phase Diagrams. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman & Co., 1972. ISBN: 9780716702542.

Other Useful Texts

Prewitt, C. T., ed. Reviews in Mineralogy. Vol. 7, Pyroxenes. Washington, DC: Mineralogical Society of America, 1980. ISBN: 9780939950072.

Kieffer, S. W., and A. Navrotsky, eds. Reviews in Mineralogy. Vol. 14, Microscopic to Macroscopic. Washington, DC: Mineralogical Society of America, 1985. ISBN: 9780939950188.

Carmichael, I. S. E., and H. P. Eugster, eds. Thermodynamic Modeling of Geologic Materials: Minerals, Fluids and Melts 17 (1987).

Nicholls, J., and J. K. Russell, eds. Reviews in Mineralogy. Vol. 24, Modern Methods of Igneous Petrology. Washington, DC: Mineralogical Society of America, 1991. ISBN: 9780939950294.


Part I: Solution properties of silicate minerals
1 Ideal solutions  
2 Non-ideal solutions  
3-4 Alkali and plagioclase feldspars solution models  

Introduction to pyroxene thermometry

Diopside - Enstatite

6 Thermodynamic properties of multi-site mineral solutions - Homogeneous equilibria  
7 Pyroxene thermometry II, the quad  
8-9 Spinels, rhombohedral oxides and T-ƒO2 relations Problem set 1 due
Part II: Heterogeneous equilibria in geologic systems
10 Heterogeneous equilibria in two - and three-component systems  
11 Liquidus diagrams - Liquidus boundaries  
12 Liquidus diagrams - Degeneracies and natural examples  
13 Liquidus diagrams - Thermodynamic controls on boundaries  
14 Schreinemaker’s analysis - Multi-component systems  
15 Choosing components - Representations of composition space  
16 Heterogeneous reactions - The Gibbs method  
17 Solution models for silicate melts-simple systems  
18 Solution models for silicate melts-multicomponent systems Problem set 2 due
19 Thermodynamic models of multicomponent systems - MELTS  
20 Mixed volatile equilibria P-T-XCO2-XH2O  

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2006
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes