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Harry Y. McSween


I regularly teach at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate courses that I have primary teaching responsibilities for include Geology 330 (Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology) and Geology 380 (Planetary Geoscience). I co-teach a graduate petrology course, Geology 530 (Petrogenesis of Crystalline Rocks), with Ted Labotka. Much of my graduate course offerings are in the form of seminars, the topics of which vary each time. Some recent seminar topics include: Volcanology, Meteoritics and Cosmochemistry, and Mars Exploration.

Several course syllabi are shown below.

I expect that you will become familiar with the common volcanic, plutonic, and metamorphic rocks that comprise much of the Earth's crust and upper mantle. We will learn how geologists use petrography, geochemistry, experiments, and field relationships to understand the origin of crystalline rocks. We encourage you to focus on understanding igneous and metamorphic processes rather than description. We will also explore the relationship between tectonics and magmatism or metamorphism on the Earth, and see how magmatism differs on other planets that do not have plate tectonics.

This half of the course is intended to introduce igneous rocks - their petrographic characteristics, chemical compositions and phase relationships, as well as their field and tectonic relationships. The student should learn how information on the origin of igneous rocks is extracted from them, based on petrographic observations, crystallization experiments, chemical and isotopic analyses, and field relationships.

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