Courses & Units

Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry KEA304

Compulsory 6-day excursion before the start of semester 1 is assessed by field tests and a mapping exercise. Students are expected to contribute towards excursion accommodation costs.


This unit provides a systematic description and quantitative interpretation of magmatic rocks within a plate tectonic framework. Topics covered in the first part of the Unit introduce the necessary tools and techniques. The remainder of the Unit applies these methods to a survey of the major igneous rock associations on Earth. Lectures and tutorial cover an introduction to igneous petrology and geochemistry, and key aspects of the mineralogy, textures, classification and origin of the main types of igneous rocks. Laboratory work includes practical exercises aimed at mastering tools and techniques used in igneous petrology and geochemistry, tutorials on optical mineralogy, and hand sample and microscope investigations of igneous rocks. The unit also involves a 6-day field excursion that precedes the beginning of semester 1. The field trip examines the geology of western Tasmania and provides practical experience in mapping and interpreting complex outcrops. Daily field tests and a mapping exercise are included in the course assessment. This unit is designed to bring students' knowledge of these topics up to graduate level, adequate for school teaching and for continuation into 4th year (Honours).


Unit name Igneous Petrology and Geochemistry
Unit code KEA304
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Earth Sciences
Coordinator Doctor Francisco Testa
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Advanced


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 26/2/2024 22/3/2024 15/4/2024 2/6/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify minerology and texture of magmatic rocks using a petrographic microscope in a safe and correct manner.
  • Explain geochemical and isotopic data using basic petrological tools to constrain evolution and petrogenesis of igneous rocks.
  • Interpret the key processes that control the evolution and emplacement of igneous rocks, including partial melting, fractional crystallisation, magma mixing and crustal contamination.
  • Interpret the major magmatic rock associations, their mineralogy, and chemical compositions to link them to specific tectonic settings.

Fee Information

Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
010703 $1,118.00 $1,118.00 not applicable $2,596.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.





Teaching Pattern

2 x 1-hr off-campus pre-recorded lectures  and pdf files with the lecture material will be available on MyLO weekly before the associated tutorials are scheduled;  

2 x 1-hr on-campus tutorials weekly

2 x 2-hr on campus practicals weekly

6 day excursion before the start of semester

AssessmentSafe and competent operation of petrographic microscope|Description of thin sections of igneous rocks 1 (4%)|Description of thin sections of igneous rocks 2 (4%)|Description of thin sections of igneous rocks 3 (4%)|Description of thin sections of igneous rocks 4 (4%)|Mapping Exercise during Field Excursion (4%)|Sample classification based on its chemical composition (10%)|Graphical presentation and interpretation of magmatic series (15%)|Practical exam (15%)|Theory exam (40%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Winter: Principles of Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, 2nd Edition. Pearson, 2010/2013

Wilson: Igneous Petrogenesis: A Global-Tectonic Approach (Springer)

Rollinson: Using Geochemical Data. (Longman Scientific)

MacKenzie and Adams: A Colour Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section. Halsted Press 1994. (Very useful, highly illustrated book, ideal for pracs)


Cox, Bell and Pankhurst: The interpretation of igneous rocks. Allen & Unwin, 1979. (Detailed explanations of phase diagrams and chemical fractionation)

Deer, Howie and Zussman: An introduction to the rock-forming minerals: Longman Scientific & Technical, 1992. (Excellent for detailed information on the crystal optics, and chemical compositional variations in all mineral groups).

Best: Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology 2nd Edition, Blackwell Publishing, 2003

Philpotts and Ague: Principles of Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, 2nd Edition. Cambridge, 2009

McBirney: Igneous Petrology. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Inc., 2007

Hall: Igneous Petrology: Longman Group Ltd. 1996.

Best and Christiansen: Igneous Petrology. Blackwell. 2001

MacKenzie, Donaldson, and Guilford: Atlas of igneous rocks and their textures, New Wiley, 1982. (Earlier version of the above: very good for prac course).

Yardley: An introduction to metamorphic petrology. Longman Scientific & Technical 1989. (Clear overview of metamorphic petrology).

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