Tertiary volcanic rocks in Big Bend National Park, West Texas.
Thick rhyolite lava at top of ridge rests on
base-surge deposits (light orange-brown).
Wichitas: Cambrian bimodal igneous rocks, SW Oklahoma.
View is looking west from Mt. Scott at
granite and gabbro exposed in Wichita Mountains.

HARDROCK COURSES AT TCU (taught by Richard Hanson)
Undergraduate Courses:
Mineralogy (GEOL 30213). The lecture part of this course covers crystallography, crystal and mineral chemistry, physical properties of minerals, X-ray diffraction, and the nature and occurrence of the important rock-forming and ore minerals. A basic introduction to ore-deposit geology is included. There is a strong lab emphasis in the course, beginning with a few introductory crystallography labs designed to teach the student how to identify various crystal systems and crystal classes. The main part of the lab teaches the student to identify in hand sample over 100 of the most important minerals.
Introduction to Petrology (GEOL 30223). The course is divided into parts on igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Principles of classification, outcrop and hand-sample characteristics, and the origin and significance of the major rock types are covered. Phase equilibria in magmatic systems are introduced using binary and ternary phase diagrams. Topics in sedimentary petrology include provenance studies, effects of diagenesis, etc. Besides teaching basic classification, the metamorphic part of the course stresses the interpretation of metamorphic textures in hand sample, and the recognition and significance of metamorphic facies. The lab part of the course teaches the student to classify, describe, and interpret the main rock types in hand sample. A two-day field trip near the end of the course to the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma gives the students the opportunity to examine a variety of plutonic, volcanic, and sedimentary rocks in the field.
In the lab part of this course, and in the mineralogy course, I stress hand-sample identification. This is in contrast to many courses of this type in other geology departments, where optical techniques and the study of rocks in thin section are combined with hand-sample identification. I prefer to teach optical mineralogy and petrography in an entirely separate course. Otherwise, in my opinion, the student does not receive sufficient training in basic hand-sample identification of rocks and minerals, and is not as well prepared for field camp and subsequent, post-graduate field experiences.
Graduate Courses (also can be taken by upper division undergraduates):
Optical Mineralogy and Petrography (GEOL 50233). This course is divided into three parts, the first of which is an overview of theoretical optical mineralogy. This part discusses in detail the behavior of light in crystals and how this knowledge can be used to study minerals with the petrographic microscope. The second part of the course is an introduction to systematic optical mineralogy and teaches the student to recognize the major rock-forming minerals and important accessories in thin section. The third part of the course is an introduction to the petrography of igneous and metamorphic rocks and includes description and interpretation of important textures in thin section. The lab part of the course is oriented almost entirely to study of thin sections, and I devote only one lab to oil immersion, to give the students a basic idea of the technique.
Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (GEOL 50613). This course is an advanced treatment of modern concepts in igneous and metamorphic geology. In the igneous part of the course, techniques of major- and trace-element geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, and experimental petrology are applied to understand the petrogenesis of major igneous rock types. In the metamorphic part, the nature of metamorphic reactions is examined, which leads to a discussion of the use of mineral assemblages to constrain P-T conditions of metamorphism. The metamorphic facies are reviewed in detail, and attention is given to the construction and tectonic significance of P-T-t paths. The lab part of the course involves extensive thin-section study of igneous and metamorphic rocks, emphasizing classification, mineral recognition, and interpretation of textures. By the end of the course, the student should be very comfortable with the study of rocks in thin section. Work in the classroom and lab is placed in a field context during a three-day trip to the Llano uplift in south-central Texas, where extensive Proterozoic plutonic and regional metamorphic rocks are exposed.
Volcanology (GEOL 50623). This is a course in physical volcanology designed primarily to give the field geologist a basic understanding of the formation, recognition, and significance of the various types of volcanic deposits. Topics include physical properties of magmas; processes of magma fragmentation; behavior and characteristics of lava flows; nature and classification of volcanic eruptions and characteristics of associated pyroclastic fall deposits; transport and deposition of pyroclastic flows and surges, lahars, and volcanic debris avalanches; and interpretation of submarine volcaniclastic deposits. The lab involves hand-sample and thin-section study of lava flows and pyroclastic deposits, stressing interpretation of volcanic textures and criteria for recognition of ancient deposits. There is a five-day field trip to examine spectacularly exposed Tertiary volcanic rocks in Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains of west Texas.
Introduction to Geochemistry (GEOL 50603). The first two-thirds of this course involves the application of basic analytical chemistry and thermodynamics to understand the chemical principles behind important geological processes (carbonate equilibria, dolomitization, chemical weathering and the stability of clay minerals, metamorphic reactions, trace-element behavior in magmatic systems, formation and weathering of ore deposits); the troublesome problem of kinetics in geological reactions also is examined. The last third of the course concerns isotope geochemistry and discusses the use of nonradiogenic and radiogenic isotopes in geology, including a thorough introduction to geochronology. There is no lab, but the student gains a better understanding of the lecture material (and a good review of basic math) by solving numerous homework problems.

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Page created 7/7/95 and last updated August 13, 2010
© Richard Hanson