Mining, thermodynamics, and oceans!

The second half of first week was spent learning more about thermodynamics, the lab work necessary for analyzing samples, the future of mining, and the details of ocean chemistry.

Steve Weaver teaches the class about the ICP.

On Wednesday, we enjoyed a talk given by Leigh Freeman titled, “Careers: Make a Difference in Mining”. Mr. Freeman spoke about the importance of mining and its future, focusing on shifting societal values about mining. While this talk focused on mining and geology, we also got a quick lesson in philosophy.


To begin class on Thursday, we reviewed what we’ve learned so far about thermodynamics and introduced new concepts like entropy, gibbs free energy, and chemical potential. This included lots of math and derivation of equations!


Friday was spent delving into ocean chemistry. Understanding ocean chemistry can tell you anything from paleotemperatures to life evolution. When you jump into the ocean, do you every wonder why it tastes salty? How did it get that way? The salts in the ocean come from chemical weathering of the Earth’s crust. This is from river flux and hydrothermal vents. The source of the salts can be traced using isotope ratios. After discussing the acidity of the ocean, we took a break for lunch.


The afternoon portion of the class was spent stopping at different outcrops in Manitou and Colorado Springs and collecting samples. Next week we will prep the samples for XRF analysis. This will be used to study ancient ocean chemistry.

Published by Helen

Hi, my name is Helen Carter. I am a Junior and a geology major at Colorado College.

One reply on “Mining, thermodynamics, and oceans!”

  1. How great you get to learn this, and thanks for the interesting read. I hope you share what you found from sampling in Manitou.

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