Geology 560: Marine Geochemistry Professor Hammond


Spring 1999: TTh 3:00-4:30 P.M


phone 213-740-5837

office: SCI 325B

This course is designed to provide background for and exposure to current research in marine geochemistry. For those interested in sediment diagenesis or rock-water interaction, many of the principles used to describe processes in marine sediments are sufficiently general to be applicable to soils, weathering, and high temperature systems. Because of the scope of this field, it is not possible to cover all areas that are of interest. We will attempt to tailor the syllabus to include topics that are related to our interests and your interests. Topics covered in previous years and others we might consider are listed below. We will select a subset from this list.

I. Principles of Chemistry and Mass Transport
1. Chemical Equilibria
2. Basic Chemical Oceanography
3. Mass Transport and Kinetics
4. Diffusion-Reaction Models
5. Stable Isotope Fractionation

II. Geochemical Cycling
1. Weathering
2. Clues about long term cycles from stable and radioisotopes
3. Clues about short-term cycles from isotopes
4. Cycles of bioactive elements: Si, C, N, P, Ca, S, etc.

III. Topics in Paleoceanography
1. Geochemical tracers for paleo-circulation and productivity
2. Bolide Impacts and Implications for Marine Chemistry
3. Gas hydrates and their impact

IV. Sediment Diagenesis
1. Diagenetic Reactions involving C, O, N, S, Fe, Mn, P
2. Silica and Calcium Carbonate
3. Sediment Geochemistry in the Equatorial Pacific

V. Radioisotopes in Oceanography
1. Age dating of sediments
2. Oceanic mixing
3. Particle transport and scavenging

VI. Current Problems Related to the Carbon Cycle
1. History of Atmospheric CO 2
2. Regulation of Atmospheric P CO2
3. Carbon burial in the geologic record

VII. Other Topics
1. Gas exchange and boundary layer phenomena
2. Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Plumes
3. Geochemistry of Permian Evaporites
4. Problems in the California Borderlands
5. Greenhouse gases and atmospheric chemistry
6. Modeling approaches in chemical oceanography


Possible written assignments include:

Formal Problem Sets
Term Paper
Short ad hoc consideration of problems that arise in class, involving
brief (or complex) calculations, or short reviews of pertinent

Oral Presentations will require writng and preparing handouts. This will include an abstract, pertinent figures and tables, and a bibliography.

Grading will be based on written work, oral presentations, and class participation.