Fall 2022 - EASC 315W D100

Geochemistry of Natural Waters (3)

Class Number: 1926

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 7 – Dec 6, 2022: Thu, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 18, 2022
    Sun, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Diana Allen
    1 778 782-3967
    Office: TASC 1 Room 7239
  • Prerequisites:

    CHEM 122 and 126. Corequisite or prerequisite: EASC 304. All with a grade of C- or better.



Emphasis is on the fundamentals of water-rock interactions and the chemistry of natural waters, developing an understanding of the physical and chemical principles that govern the geochemistry of water within Earth's crust. Topics will include water sample collection and analysis, chemical thermodynamics, gas-water-rock interactions and geochemical modeling. The applications range from weathering and recharge to acid rock drainage and diagenesis. Students with credit for EASC 412 and/or EASC 315 may not complete this course for further credit. Writing.


This course examines the fundamentals of aqueous geochemistry as applied to natural waters. The emphasis is on developing an understanding of the physical and chemical principles that govern the interaction of water with the geochemical environment. Topics will include water sample collection and analysis, chemical thermodynamics, gas-water-rock interactions, groundwater hydrogeochemistry and geochemical modelling. The course is taught in a lecture/laboratory format where the majority of the writing instruction will be provided during the laboratory. The course also forms the basis for advanced groundwater-related courses, including EASC 410 and EASC 416, which introduce groundwater contamination and transport, and field methods in hydrogeology.

Course Topics:
1. Water Quality, Sampling and Analysis

  1. Solutions, Minerals and Equilibria
  2. From Rainwater to Groundwater
  3. The Carbonate System
  4. Mineral Weathering and Silicates
  5. Clay Minerals and Ion Exchange
  6. Flow and Transport Processes
  7. Reduction Oxidation
  8. Adsorption and Trace Metals
  9. Isotopes
  10. Kinetics
  11. Geochemical Modelling (throughout course)

    Course Organization:
    One 2-hour lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. The assignments and term project are based on the theory part of the course, and these will be distributed during lab time.


Knowledge Development: Demonstrate an understanding of the physical and chemical processes that control the geochemistry of water, and geochemical thermodynamics.

Knowledge Application: Apply knowledge to determine the factors impacting water quality,  develop a conceptual model of groundwater water quality problems, and identify the geochemical processes impacting water chemistry.

Scientific Methods: Employ scientifically-based approaches to evaluate water composition data using the appropriate plotting methods and construct simple geochemical models to identify data trends and processes impacting water composition.

Analytical Skills: Employ calculation and graphing features of a spreadsheet, specialized geochemical plotting software and geochemical modeling software for analyzing and interpreting data.

Communication Skills: Demonstrate improved technical writing skills in the form of consulting or scientific reports that describe and synthesize data and scientific findings.


  • Assignments 35%
  • Term Project 25%
  • Midterm Exam 15%
  • Final Exam 25%



Course E-Text:

Appelo, C.A.J. and Postma, D.  2005. Geochemistry, Groundwater and Pollution, 2nd edition. CRC Press

Available through online access from the library
ISBN: 9781439833544


Morel and Hering, Principles and Applications of Aquatic Chemistry, Wiley-Interscience, 558pp. Available through online access from the library


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html