Igneous petrology is the study of igneous rocks - their compositions and textures, what these properties can tell us about the formation of the rocks, and what the processes that affected their evolution mean for regional/global geology.

Questions that igneous rocks can answer:

  1. Was a silicate melt involved?
  2. What was the composition (or compositions) of the melt?
  3. Where and by what process(es) did the melt originate?
  4. How did the magma(s) reach their present site?
  5. What chemical fractionation processes occurred?
  6. What were the intensive parameters involved in steps #3, #4 and #5?
  7. What were the thermal histories for steps #3, #4 and #5?


Students are expected to have had the equivalent of undergraduate mineralogy, 12.108. If they feel they need additional background, students may sit in on undergraduate petrology, 12.109.


Advanced Igneous Petrology has two components: lecture and laboratory. Students are expected to complete the readings for each topic before the relevant lecture. In lab assignments, students must identify and discuss thin sections of significant rock samples.


Final Exam 80%
Labs 20%