UCL Earth Sciences

GEOLGG24 Experimental Methods in Water-Rock Interaction

GEOLGG24 Experimental Methods in Water-Rock Interaction

This MSc provides an introduction to geohazards, research methods and field techniques, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology.


Using a 'problem-based' (PBL) approach, this course introduces a range of laboratory - and field-based experimental methods applied to problems involving water-rock interaction in the Earth Sciences.


Knowledge of experimental equipment and methodologies used to research problems involving water-rock interaction, with an understanding of the underlying theory and limitations.


The course will introduce the applications and limitations of a range of laboratory- and field-based experimental methods used to research problems involving water-rock interaction in the Earth Sciences, from the following:

  • X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy (SEM-TEM), e-probe, X-ray fluorescence, chromatography, atomic adsorption spectrophotometry, mass spectrometry, ICP-MS and ICP-AES, fission-track and (U-Th)/He thermochronometry, vitrinite reflectance, K-Ar and Ar-Ar dating, TIMS and SIMS;
  • experimental rock mechanics and rock physics, acoustic emission and ultrasonic wave velocity measurement, high pressure mineral physics, rock permeametry and porosimetry;
  • borehole geophysics, borehole hydraulic tests, groundwater tracing.

There are no formal lectures. The PBL approach involves individual and group-based literature research, seminars, discussions and mini-projects, facilitated by academic staff and supported by research students. The total time commitment for 1 course unit is 300 hours. of this, 4 hours per week over 20 weeks will be timetabled for academic support and/or demonstration.

Title Experimental Methods in Water-Rock Interaction
Coordinator Dr. William Burgess
Other Contributors Prof. P.G. MeredithMr. S. Boon
Term 1 & 2
Credits 30
Oral Exam With internal examiners (50%)  
Coursework A Portfolio, incorporating a written account of literature research and review, technical discussions and seminars, planning, experimental methods and results, and a synthesis account of the problem under investigation, and contributions made by experimental techniques. (50%)
Maths & Stats Content and Requirement  
Total Number of Hours of Student Work 300 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars 20 hours
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes 20 hours
Hours of Tutorials 0
Days of Fieldwork 0
Other None
Annual Monitoring download pdf
Categorizing Student Performance Levels download pdf
Moodle page Moodle page