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CODE 61677
CREDITS 6 credits during the 1st year of 9022 Geological sciences (LM-74) GENOVA
TEACHING LOCATION GENOVA (Geological sciences)
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The course provides advanced knowledge on the petrological processes tracing the chemical and tectonic evolution of the lithosphere-astenosphere system, and generate economically useful "reservoirs" of geomaterials. The  students are trained to a multidisciplinary approach, integrating information deriving from petrology with field studies and geophysical models. An  excursion is planned to provide a field-based approach to petrologic processes.



The teaching provides an interdisciplinary knowledge and approach to the genesis and evolution of the oceanic and continental lithosphere, including processes of element distribution among silicate melts, fluids and rocks leading to formation of mineral deposits. The course deals with the following major aspects: 1) The genesis and evolution of silicate melts and fluids in magmatic and metamorphic environments; 2) the chemical characterization of silicate melts, fluids and rocks; 3) migration of silicate melts and fluids in porous media and the reactivity of these melts/fluids with minerals; 4) the use of trace elements, stable and radiogenic isotopes as tracers of petrogenetic processes. Case studies and specific examples are presented and integrated with field work.


The course provides the petrographic and chemical tools for the understanding and quantitative modeling of magmatic processes (partial melting, melt-rock interaction, magmatic differentiation) and metamorphic processes (dehydration reactions and genesis of metamorphic fluids, fluid-rock interaction ).

Specifically, the student will be trained to:

• Know the behavior of trace elements and isotopes during the fundamental magmatic and metamorphic processes;

• Use analytical methods for modeling magmatic and metamorphic processes;

• Know the distribution and origin of the lithological, chemical and isotopic heterogeneities of the Earth's mantle, and understand its influence on the genesis of magmas;

• Know the relationships between metamorphism and fluid genesis in various geodynamic environments;

• Know the microstructural and chemical tracers of the interaction processes between melts/fluids and rocks, and understand their importance for elemental transport and the genesis of georesources in lithospheric and crustal environments.

• Interprete petrogenetic evolution models;

• Deepen in an autonomous way specific themes treated during the lessons, and return an oral presentation, preferably in English, on the selected topic, in the final verification phase.


To deal effectively with the contents of the course, basic knowledge of petrography, geology and geophysics is required. It is necessary to have acquired and assimilated the knowledge provided by the teaching of "Geomaterial investigation methods".


The course consists of lectures and theoretical and practical exercises on the field.

Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.

The field work is  aimed at deepening the analysis of rock associations reflecting the petrogenetic processes presented and discussed during lectures.

Please refer to the specific AulaWeb application of this course for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.


The program deals with the following topics:

• Use of trace elements and radiogenic and stable isotopes to trace the petrogenetic processes, the evolution of the different terrestrial "reservoirs", and for geochronological purposes;

• Magmatism as a messenger of the internal composition of the Earth: mapping of the scale and origin of chemical and isotopic heterogeneities of the Earth's mantle from MORB and OIB magmatism, chemical differentiation of the Earth, evolution of the Earth's mantle through time;

• Metamorphism as the tracer of lithosphere’s dynamics, of fluid and elements transport and release in crustal and mantle environments;

• The ultramafic rocks (xenoliths, oceanic and orogenic peridotites) as witnesses of the structure and composition of the Earth's mantle, mantle depletion, refertilization and metasomatism.

• Mantle melting and magmas genesis in extensional and convergent settings;

• Melt and fluid  migration in porous and fractured media, in crustal and mantle environments; melt/rock and fluid/rock interactions;

• The meaning of the stratified basic complexes (eg Bushveld, Rum, Skaergaard) in the terrestrial evolution and accretion of the crust, and in the finding of georesources;

• The role of fluids in the genesis of mineral deposits at the convergent and divergent plate margins.


Slides used during the lessons and other educational material will be available on AulaWeb at the end of each cycle of lessons / laboratory exercises.

The books below are suggested as supporting texts, The recommended texts are available and can be consulted at the M.F.N. Library.

Treatise on Geochemistry, H.D.Holland and K.K.Turekian (Eds), Elsevier, with particular reference to the following volumes:

Volume 3: The Mantle and the Core (R.W. Carlson ed.),

Volume 4: The Crust (R. Rudnick ed.)

J.D.Winter - Principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology. Prentice Hall, ISBN-13: 978-0-321-68132-4.

During the lessons, scientific publications concerning specific aspects of the program will also be provided.


Exam Board





Lessons will stars since 15 February 2021.

Please consult the following link:

Class schedule




The exam consists in the discussion of the program, and in the oral presentation, preferably in English, of a summary report, in PowerPoint format, on a topic selected by the student, in the context of the different topics addressed during the theoretical lessons.

To prepare the report, the student has the teaching material provided during the lessons, possibly supplemented by specific scientific publications on the subject.

There are 2 exam appeals available in the winter session (January-February) and 3 exam appeals in the summer session (June, July, September).


Details on how to prepare the exam will be provided during the lessons.
The oral exam will mainly focus on the topics covered during the lectures and will aim to assess whether the student has reached an adequate level of knowledge, and whether he has acquired the ability to recall the theoretical notions applying them to concrete contexts.
The oral report on a selected topic is aimed at evaluating the student's ability to report in a synthetic and exhaustive way on the main issues addressed and discussed during the lectures.
The ability to present the topics clearly and with correct terminology will also be evaluated.

Please refer to the specific AulaWeb application of this course for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
20/01/2022 09:30 GENOVA Compitino
20/01/2022 09:30 GENOVA Orale
03/02/2022 09:30 GENOVA Compitino
03/02/2022 09:30 GENOVA Orale
22/06/2022 09:30 GENOVA Compitino
22/06/2022 09:30 GENOVA Orale
07/07/2022 09:30 GENOVA Compitino
07/07/2022 09:30 GENOVA Orale
21/07/2022 09:30 GENOVA Compitino
21/07/2022 09:30 GENOVA Orale
13/09/2022 09:30 GENOVA Compitino
13/09/2022 09:30 GENOVA Orale


Regular attendance at lectures and related field excursions are strongly recommended.