2021 Introduction to Geochemistry

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Chemical Science and Engineering
Toyoda Sakae  Yamada Keita 
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Course description and aims

This course focuses on distribution of various materials in the Earth and its surface environment and their change. Topics include 13.8 billion years' history from synthesis of elements to the present through the birth of the Earth and life, and a broad range of the Earth's components such as geosphere including core, mantle, and crust, atmosphere, and hydrosphere.
Global environment is supported by material cycles occurring in the very thin Earth's surface layer, and is getting worse because of modern human activity. This course reviews the fundamental high-school level knowledge of earth science etc. and shows how such knowledge is applied to understanding of the Earth and environmental problems.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
(1) Explain the origin and history of the Earth.
(2) Explain the origin and distribution of materials composing each part of the interior and surface Earth and their change from the chemical view point.
(3) Explain how life and the Earth interact and learn fundamental knowledge in in order to portray better future environment for a variety of lives.


History of the Earth, Global environment, Material cycles, Organic matter

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Fundamentals will be shown in the class. Students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge in the topics of their interest by reading books recommended by the lecturers.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction: Origin of elements, universe, and the Earth Explain how the elements were synthesized and what kind of elements are abundant in the universe and the Earth.
Class 2 Chemistry of the geosphere: Structure of the interior Earth and its constituents Explain how the interior Earth is examined and what kind of materials compose the Earth.
Class 3 Evolution of the surface environment of the Earth Explain some of the big events occurred in the Earth's surface through its history.
Class 4 Chemistry of the atmosphere: Composition and reactions Explain the vertical structure, chemical composition, and atmospheric environmental problems.
Class 5 Chemistry of the hydrosphere and pedosphere: composition and reactions in the seawater and land water Give examples of composition and chemical reactions in the seawater, land water, and soils.
Class 6 Chemistry of the biosphere: Ecosystem and organic matter Explain materials and their change in the interaction of life and the Earth's surface.
Class 7 Final exam

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

Handouts will be distributed at the beginning of class when necessary and elaborated on using PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint documents that are ti be used in class will be made available in advance via the OCW system. Students are expected to use these documents for preparation and review purposes.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' course scores are based on exercise problems (50%) and final exam (50%).

Related courses

  • CAP.E331 : Introduction to Environmental Chemistry and Science
  • CAP.E332 : Introduction to Environmental and Energy Process

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites.

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