Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia




Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Ciências da Terra



Teacher in charge

Joaquim António dos Reis Silva Simão, Nuno Gonçalo Figueiredo de Freitas Leal

Weekly hours


Total hours


Teaching language



The goal of the discipline is to lead the students to understand the mechanisms of the geological processes as a Geochemical process, from magma generation to magma evolution, from distribution and association of chemical elements during the geological processes to mineral accumulation (mineral deposits) and mineral and rock alteration



Mineralogy and Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology are required.

Subject matter


Introduction: Geochemistry, concept, objectives. The Earth and its relationship with the Universe; meteorites. Origin and abundance of the elements in the Universe and in the Earth. Composition and structure of the Earth. The Periodic Table and the geochemical classification of the elements. Alkaline, calk-alkaline elements, halogens, Rare Earth elements, inert gases. The geochemical classification of Goldschmidt. Siderophile, chalcophile, lithophile and atmophile elements. Abundance, distribution and mobility of the elements. Abundance and distribution of the elements in the Earth and in the crust of the Earth and during the geochemical processes in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Major, minor and trace elements. The Geochemical Cycle. Geochemical environment, primary and secondary environments. Igneous processes, magma generation, partial melting, fractional crystallization, Distribution and mobility of the elements during igneous processes. Sedimentary processes, sedimentary environment. Chemical, physical and biological processes. Weathering, changes in rock composition, sequence of mineral alteration. Weathering agents, effects on carbonates and silicates. Metamorphism and metamorphic reactions. Chemical changes during the metamorphic reactions. Rock alteration as a geochemical process. Alteration of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The role of chemical and mineralogical rock composition during the alteration processes. Climate and pollution during the alteration processes. Environmental Geochemistry. Atmosfphere, hydrosphere and lythosphere. Pollution as a geochemical process, effects on rocks, animals and plants. Geochemistry in mineral exploration/Basic principles. Mineral survey. Dispersion and mineral geochemical mobility. Geochemical distribution pattern, interpretation. Geochemical anomaly, interpretation.

Geochemical field prospecting. How to make a field prospecting. Field equipment and laboratory. Chemical analysis laboratory, existing techniques,advantages and disadvantages of each.



Mason, Brian & Moore, Carleton B. (1982) - Principles of Geochemistry. John Wiley & Sons. 4th Ed., 344 p. 

Rodrigues, B. & Bravo, M.S., (1983) - Interpretação de Diagramas de Fases de Interesse Geológico. FCT/UNL, 163 p.

Cherdyntsev, V.V. (1961) - Abundance of Chemical Elements. The University of Chicago Press, 304 p.

Krauskopf, Konrad B. (1989) - Introduction to Geochemistry. McGraw-Hill International Edition.2nd Ed., 617 p.

Rankama, K & Sahama, T.G. 1950. Geochemistry. The University of Chicago Press. Chigo & London,. 912 p.


Teaching method

The course is composed by theoretical-practical lessons.

Evaluation method

Continuous evaluation (by means of 4 partial examinations, 25%, each):

1st examination: April, 4, at 15.00;

2nd examination: May, 9, at 15.00;

3rd examination: May, 30th, at 15.00;

4th examination: June, 20, at 15.00.


Final examination: July, 2nd, at 13.00.

ACCESS TO FINAL EXAMINATION CONDITION:  presence on 2/3 of the theoretical-practical classes.