GY303 Syllabus – Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology 
Dr. David Allison


I. Course


GY 303 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology



II. Catalog Description


(4 credits) Introduction to phase diagrams and processes controlling magma crystallization, and the formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Relationship of plate tectonics to the genesis and distribution of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Classification of common igneous and metamorphic rocks. Prerequisite: GY111, GY302. (GY303 is usually taught once each year, spring semester).



III. Course Objectives and Goals


The objective of this course will be to instruct the student in the processes that control the genesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks, with emphasis on igneous processes. The laboratory portion of the course will be devoted to applying various classification systems to laboratory specimens. The lecture portion of petrology will include the following topics: 1) plate tectonic controls on petrologic processes, 2) introduction to basic thermodynamics with emphasis on the phase rule 3) binary and ternary phase diagrams, 4) geochemical and mineralogical  classification of igneous and  metamorphic rocks 5) fractionation of trace and rare earth elements in magmas, 6) igneous and metamorphic rock associations with emphasis on plate tectonic controls, and 7) metamorphic facies with emphasis on geothermometry and geobarometry.
Computer Skills: students will be required to solve the various lecture problems sets with the aid of a computer workstation. All assignments will be downloaded from the instructor’s web site. Trace element and REE fractionation modeling will be completed using Excel spreadsheet templates downloaded to student workstations. Normative mineralogy calculations will be verified with spreadsheets and the public domain application NORM. IUGS classification diagrams will be printed using Adobe PDF reader. A web-based Geothermobarometry application WEBINVEQ is used to solve for pressure and temperature of metamorphic recrystallization based on microprobe data.



IV. Course Topics


The following chapters will be covered during the semester:



Plate Tectonics and Petrology
Chapter 1- Introduction to Igneous Environments



WEEK 2: 

Chapter 1- Introduction to Igneous Environments
Chapter 2- Igneous Minerals and Textures




Chapter 2- continued 
Chapter 3- Chemistry, Physics and Classification of Igneous Rocks




Chapter 3- continued; EXAM #1




Chapter 4- Volcanism




Chapter 5- Origin of Magmas through Melting Mantle & Crust




Chapter 6- Crystallization of Magmas




 Chapter 6- continued; EXAM #2




Spring Break



WEEK 10: 

Chapter 7- Petrology of the Mantle



WEEK 11:

Chapter 8- Igneous Rocks of the Ocean Lithosphere



WEEK 12:

Chapter 9- Igneous Rocks of Convergent Margins




Chapter 10- Igneous Rocks of the Continental Lithosphere



WEEK 14:

Chapter 17- Isograds, Metamorphic Facies, and Pressure-Temperature Evolution




Chapter 19- Metamorphic Assemblages, Reactions, and Equilibrium




Ore Deposits



FINAL EXAM- consult online final exam schedule



Laboratory Topics




Felsic Igneous Rock Classification




Intermediate Igneous Rock Classification



WEEK 3: 

Mafic and Ultramafic Rock Classification




LAB EXAM #1: Hand Specimen ID




Introduction to Volcanic hand specimen identification




Volcanic hand sample I.D. test




Intoduction to petrographic microscope and mineral I.D. in thin sections




Identification of common igneous rock minerals in thin section




Spring Break



WEEK 10:

Igneous rock thin section point counting and IUGS classification




LAB EXAM #2: Igneous Thin Section ID




Regional Metamorphic Rock Classification




Metamorphic hand sample I.D. quiz




Metamorphic minerals and textures in thin sections




Review for Lab Final




Final Lab Exam


V. Text


Blatt, Harvey, Tracy, Robert J. and Owens, Brent E., 2006, Petrology: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic, 3rd Edition, W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, 530p.



VI. Procedures for Assessing Student Performance & Policies


The final grade for this course will be based on two components, laboratory and lecture, which both count as 50% of the final grade.  In lecture, your average will be determined from a two exams and final exam, in addition to problem assignments that are periodically given in lecture. You will have approximately seven lecture problem assignments during the semester. These assignments are designed to take 2-4 hours to complete, and are due 3-7 days after they are assigned. The final score will be calculated using the below percentages:


Laboratory average: 50%
Lecture Exam 1: 10%
Lecture Exam 2: 10%
Lecture Final: 15%
Lecture Assignments: 5%

Attendance: 10%


Grades are assigned as usual: 90% or greater = A; 80-89%=B;
70-79%=C; 60-69%=D, and lower percentages = F.




Laboratory periods will used for rock identification and classification. In most laboratory meetings, a specimen identification exercise will be assigned, and will be due at the start of the next lab period. Quizzes may be given at the start of a lab period. There will also be two laboratory exams, and a final lab exam. The weekly laboratory assignments/quizzes will compose 50% of your laboratory grade, while the lab exams are each 16%. The lab final will count as 18%. In summary, your lab component grade will be calculated with the following percentages (percentage of final score in parentheses):

Lab assignments & quizzes: 50% (25%)
Lab exam 1: 16% (8%)
Lab exam 2: 16% (8%)
Lab final: 18% (9%)

You will be required to have a hand lens for laboratory assignments.  The lab exams will be composed of 12-15 specimens. In laboratory, you will also be required to memorize classification charts and mineral chemical formulae.




Computer Access Policy


Students are required to have access to a computer with certain minimum capabilities such as internet access. Internet access will be used to access assignments and other course materials. This is a university requirement for all students- for more information on this policy please refer to the USA Bulletin. 




Changes in Course Requirements:


Since all classes do not progress at the same rate, the instructor may wish to modify the above requirements or their timing as circumstances dictate. For example, the instructor may wish to change the number and frequency of exams, or the number and sequence of assignments. Students will be given adequate notification of such changes. Although course requirements may be modified, they will still preserve the original course objectives and spirit.




Missed exams\ lateness penalty\attendance:


The reason for producing a syllabus is to give students advanced notice of exams and assignment due dates. Translation: there is no excuse for turning lab assignments in late. As such you will receive a "0" if you do not turn in your lab assignment by the due date. If you have a legitimate excuse for missing an exam (i.e. medical problem), you will be permitted to complete a make-up during the last week of classes provided that you show me a signed certificate from a physician stating that it was impossible for you to make the exam. The make up exam will typically consist of essay questions.

Attendance of course lecture and laboratory meetings is required. Attendance will be taken by the instructor with a seating chart at the beginning of class. If you are late and miss the seating chart roll you will be counted absent. Please sit in the same location after the 1st week of class. I will keep track of your attendance as a percentage of possible days in attendance. For example, if a MWF class meets a total of 45 times, and you missed 8 classes according to the seating chart roll your attendance score will be (45-8)/45*100=82%. I will not take attendance during the 1st week of class. 




Classroom/Laboratory Rules and Etiquette


  1. No active Laptop/Cell phone/Calculator computers are allowed during lectures. Notes are to be taken with pen and paper.
  2. No food is to be consumed during lecture or labs. No disposable drink containers are allowed- liquids must be contained in spill-proof containers.
  3. Door code combinations are to be shared only among current students. Do not give access codes to students not enrolled in the current class.
  4. Department computer resources are to be used only by Earth Science majors for class assignments. Do not give out computer passwords to non-majors.
  5. Do not use the faculty podium computers in classrooms unless specifically cleared by your instructor.
  6. If food/drink is consumed in the classroom during off hours please dispose of the trash in trash cans.
  7. If you remove lab specimens from the classroom please return them to their proper place.




Classroom Disruption


Disruption of lectures or labs will not be tolerated. This includes habitually arriving late for class or disrupting class with cell phones or personal conversations. For more information regarding what constitutes class disruption see:




Honor Policy:


Unless explicitly stated otherwise in course assignments, all assigned work in this course is to be completed by students independently. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating are academic matters; accordingly, no credit will be given for work in which they are involved. In addition, incidents of this nature may be reported to other appropriate authorities for further disciplinary action. (See Student Academic Conduct Policy:




Disability Policy:


If you have a specific disability that qualifies you for academic accommodations, please notify the instructor/professor and provide certification from Special Student Services. (OSSS is located in Room 270 of the Student Center (460-7212). The USA non-discrimination policy link that includes a disability statement is below:



VII. Instructor for Course


Instructor: David Allison
Office: Room 344 LSB
Office Hours:




This course will normally have a student teaching assistant assigned whose primary function is to aid students in the laboratory portion of the course. If an assistant is assigned I will introduce him/her during the first laboratory meeting. If I am not available to help you with laboratory or lecture material, do not hesitate to seek the help of your student assistant. The Department of Earth Sciences office assistant will know how to reach me or my teaching assistant at all times.






It is the responsibility of the student to examine the rocks and minerals and other materials that are assigned in this course. You may do this during the lab periods and\or outside of normal university hours. Everything you are assigned in the labs is testable.



VIII. Bibliography


Blatt, Harvey, and Tracy, Robert J., 2006, Petrology: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic, 2nd Edition, W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, 530p.
ISBN: 0-7167-3743-4




Travis, Russell B., 1955, Classification of Rocks, Quarterly of the Colorado School of Mines, v. 50, 98 p.




NOTE TO GEOLOGY MAJORS: Every semester the Earth Sciences Department designates a specific week as advising week. This is the period designated for you and your advisor to meet and discuss your progress and future courses. Please take advantage of this designated time- your advisor may refuse to advise you at other times. Be aware that you should meet with your advisor every semester so that the departmental secretary can mark you from the registration "hold" list. It is your responsibility to make an appointment with your advisor, and to make sure that he/she marks you off of the registration "hold" list after you have been advised. If you are on the hold list you will not be able to register online. You can check with the departmental secretary each semester to determine the dates of advising week.
David Allison Home Page
USA Undergraduate Bulletin
University of South Alabama