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Grove, Timothy, 12.109 Petrology, Fall 2005. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 12 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

12.109 Petrology

Fall 2005

Graphic granite.

The texture of intergrown feldspar and quartz granite known as "graphic granite" has often been compared to cuneiform writing. (Image courtesy of MIT OCW.)

Course Highlights

This course features lecture notes and laboratory exercises.

Course Description

This undergraduate petrology course surveys the distribution, chemical composition, and mineral associations in rocks of the earth's crust and upper mantle, and establishes its relation to tectonic environment. The emphasis of the course is on the use of chemistry and physics to interpret rock forming processes.

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .xls.




12.109 is a broad survey of igneous and metamorphic petrology. The course follows the history and development of the field as well as the scientific methods and findings. Students learn the relationships between rock-forming processes, tectonic environments, and the chemical composition and texture of rocks.

Topics Include

  • Dynamics of Crust and Mantle Melting as Preserved in the Chemical Composition of Igneous Rocks and Minerals
  • The Long-term Record of Global Climate Change as Preserved in the Minerals of Sedimentary Rocks
  • Time-temperature-depth Record Preserved in Minerals of Metamorphosed Crustal Rocks


Structure of Earth Materials (12.108), Thermodynamics of Materials (3.00) recommended


Labs are due one week after they are assigned. The microscope and hand sample lab room is reserved for six hours per week; however, anytime the room is open, feel free to go in and look at thin sections/rocks. See your TA with questions, and work together if needed. All students must turn in their own work.


Lab: Exercises, Midterm, and Final Exam 50%
Lecture: 3 Problem Sets, Midterm, and Final Exam 50%

All exams on lecture material will be closed book. The lab final is open book.


Rock Forming Minerals (RFM)
1 RFM I: Olivine and Spinel Microscope Introduction  
2 RFM II: Feldspars Minerals I  
3 RFM III: Pyroxenes Minerals I  
4 RFM IV: Pyriboles Minerals II  
5 1-Energy Functions-E-S-V and G-T-P-X Minerals II  
6 P-T-X Phase Diagrams

Gibbs Phase Rule
Minerals III  
7 2-Exchange Reactions and Equilibrium Constants Textures Problem set 1: Exchange reactions
8 3-Earth's Outer Mantle - Phase Relations and Variation with Tectonic Setting Mantle Rocks  
9 Mantle Rock Types and Processes

Pyroxene Thermobarometry
10 Serpentine Stability - Recycling of Mantle

Origin of Mantle Rocks - Igneous vs. Metamorphic Processes
Lab Review  
11 4-Melting and Crystallization Processes

T-X-X Phase Diagrams (3 Components) Freezing/Melting in Crust and Mantle
Lab Midterm Exam Problem set 2: Using phase diagrams
12 5-Basalts, Komatiites Rock Series Mantle Melting Processes    
13 Midterm Exam    
14 6-Phase Equilibria: Silicate + H2O

Magma Generation in Subduction Zones
Calc-alkaline Rocks  
15 7-Granitic Rocks and Crustal Magmatic Processes Granite  
16 Continental Crustal Igneous Rocks    
17 The Major Types of Sedimentary Rocks

Distribution of Sediments on the Earth's Surface
Sedimentary Rocks  
18 Metamorphic Petrology 1 - Metamorphic Processes, Contact, Regional, T and P Variations Metamorphic Minerals  
19 Metamorphic Petrology 2 - Metamorphic Facies

Heat Flow and Heat Production in Crust
20 Metamorphic Petrology 3 - Metamorphism of Pelitic Rocks Minerals and Isograds Metamorphic Facies  
21 Metamorphic Petrology 4 - Pelites - The AKFM System Continuous and Discontinuous Reactions Pelites Problem set 3: Garnet-biotite thermobarometry
22 Metamorphic Petrology 5 - Metamorphism of Mafic Rocks, Metamorphism    
23 Greenschists, Blueschists and Eclogites Lab Review  
24 Metamorphic Petrology 6 - Metamorphism of calc-silicates Lab Final Exam   Tell A Friend