Derek Vance: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2021

Award: The Golden Owl
Name Prof. Dr. Derek Vance
Inst. für Geochemie und Petrologie
ETH Zürich, NW D 81.4
Clausiusstrasse 25
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 632 68 81
Fax+41 44 632 11 79
DepartmentEarth Sciences
RelationshipFull Professor

651-0254-00LSeminar Geochemistry and Petrology0 credits2SO. Bachmann, M. Schönbächler, C. Chelle-Michou, M. W. Schmidt, D. Vance
AbstractSeminar series with external and occasional internal speakers addressing current research topics. Changing programs announced via D-ERDW homepage (Veranstaltungskalender)
ObjectivePresentations on isotope geochemistry, cosmochemistry, fluid processes, economic geology, petrology, mineralogy and experimental studies. Mostly international speakers provide students, department members and interested guests with insight into current research topics in these fields.
ContentWöchentliches Seminar mit Fachvorträgen eingeladener oder interner Wissenschafter, vornehmlich zu Themen der Geochemie, Isotogengeologie, Hydrothermalgeochemie, Lagerstättenbildung, Petrologie, Mineralogie und experimentelle Studien.
651-3400-00LGeochemistry I Information 4 credits3GM. Schönbächler, D. Vance
AbstractIntroduction to geochemistry and its application to the study of the origin and evolution of the Earth and planets.
ObjectiveGain an overview of geochemical methods used in various fields of Earth Sciences and how they can be applied to study geological processes in the Earth’s mantle, crust, oceans and atmosphere.
ContentThis course is an introduction into geochemistry with a special focus on the basic concepts used in this rapidly evolving field. The course deals with the geochemist's toolbox: the basic chemical and nuclear properties of elements from the periodic table and how these elements can be used to ask fundamental questions in Earth Sciences. The important concepts used in solid-solution-gas equilibria are introduced. The concepts of chemical reservoirs and geochemical cycles are discussed with examples from the carbon cycle in the Earth. The course also addresses geological applications in low- and high-temperature geochemistry, including the formation of continents, the differentiation of the Earth, the geochemistry of ocean and continental waters.
Lecture notesThe slides are available online.
LiteratureH. Y. McSween et al.: Geochemistry - Pathways and Processes,
2nd ed. Columbia Univ. Press (2003)

William White: Geochemistry, Wiley-Blackwell Chichester (2013)
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisite: chemical thermodynamics, basic inorganic chemistry and physics.
651-3507-00LIntroduction to Oceanography and Hydrogeology3 credits2VD. Vance, M. O. Saar
AbstractThis course is designed to provide an introduction to hydrogeology and oceanography for all Earth Science students at ETH. It provides an overview of the physical controls on water flow in streams, aquifers, and the oceans. It also deals with the basics of groundwater chemistry, biogeochemical cycling in the oceans, the role of the oceans as carbon reservoirs and their dynamic redox state.
ObjectiveTo understand and describe the basic principles of the hydrologic cycle and water flow in streams and aquifers.

To conduct simple calculations of water transfer in streams and aquifers as well as of flood frequencies and magnitudes.

To discuss surface and groundwater as a water resource.

To interpret different ion distributions in aquifers in terms of bacic water chemistry, fluid-mineral reactions, water contamination, and water origin.

To understand the major features of ocean basins and the tectonic controls on their structure.

To identify the major controls on the temperature, salinity and density structure of the oceans.

To describe how these controls interact to drive surface and interior ocean circulation.

To interpret different kinds of element distribution in the oceans in terms of basic chemistry, sinks, sources and internal biogeochemical cycling.

To discuss the cycles of carbon and oxygen in the ocean, with a view to the critical analysis of how the oceans respond to, cause and record the dynamics of these cycles in Earth history.
ContentThis course provides an introduction to oceanography and hydrogeology, with a special focus on the basic physicochemical concepts that control the properties and behaviour of two major reservoirs of water on Earth.

The hydrogeology component will: 1) describe the hydrologic cycle, with a focus on the importance of groundwater to society; introduce the basic physical aspects of groundwater flow, including Darcy's law, hydraulic head, hydraulic conductivity, aquifers; 2) describe the basics of groundwater chemistry, including major ions and mean meteoric water line, basics of groundwater contamination; 3) introduce the interface with the oceans, including hydrothermal circulation at mid-ocean ridges, ocean-water intrusion into groundwater at coasts.

The oceanography component will: 1) provide an overview of the physical circulation of the oceans, including its importance for heat transfer around the surface of the Earth and for climate; 2) describe the basic processes that control the chemistry of the oceans, including its temporal and spatial variability; 3) introduce some simple concepts in biological oceanography, including the dependence of ocean ecology on nutrient distributions. There will be a specific focus on how the physics, chemistry and biology of the ocean might have changed through Earth history, and the impact of oceanic processes on Earth's climate.
Lecture notesAvailable
LiteratureTalley, L.D., Pickard, G.L., Emery, W.J. and Swift, J.H. Descriptive Physical Oceanography, an Introduction. (2011) Online textbook, available at

Libes, S.M. (2009) Introduction to marine biogeochemistry. 2nd edition. Academic Press
Prerequisites / NoticeChemie I and II, Physik I and II, Mathematik I and II.
651-4180-02LIntegrated Earth Systems II Restricted registration - show details 5 credits4G + 1UH. Stoll, D. Vance, S. Willett
AbstractThe surface Earth is often thought of as a set of interacting systems, often with feedbacks between them. These interacting systems control the tectonics, geomorphology, climate, and biology of the surface Earth. To fully understand the nature of the Earth System, including the controls on its past evolution, its present state, and its future, an integrated perspective is required.
ObjectiveTo introduce students to an integrated view of the surface Earth, uniting perspectives from different disciplines of the earth sciences.

To encourage students in the critical analysis of data and models in Earth Science.
ContentPlanet Earth has had a complex history since its formation ~4.6 billion years ago. The surface Earth is often thought of as a set of interacting systems, often with positive and negative feedbacks between them. These interacting systems control the tectonics, geomorphology, climate, and biology of the surface Earth. To fully understand the nature of the Earth System, including the controls on its past evolution, its present state, and its future, an integrated perspective is required. This is a subject that pulls in observations and models from many areas of the Earth Sciences, including geochemistry, geophysics, geology and biology. The main goal of the course is to convey this integrated view of the surface of our planet.

We will achieve this integrated view through a series of lectures, exercises, and tutorials. We take as our framework some of the key events in Earth history, encouraging understanding of the controlling processes through integrated observations, ideas and models from disciplines across science.