Geochemical thermodynamics

In thermodynamics, geochemical thermodynamics is the application of chemical thermodynamics to the study of geological systems, such as rocks, minerals, magmas, hydrothermal solutions, etc. [1] Synonyms include geothermodynamics and geological thermodynamics.

The first use of thermodynamics in the geosciences, according to American geoscience chemical thermodynamicist Bruce Fegley, was when in 1867 English geologist Roderick Murchison referred to the “principles of thermo-dynamics.” [4]

The first book on the application of thermodynamics in geology seems to be the 1964 Thermodynamicque de Base pour Mineralogistes, Petrographes et Geologues by Raymond Kern and Alain Weisbrod, which, according to its 1967 English translator American geochemist Robert Garrels, was “a book long overdue”. [2] Prior to this, according to Garrels, "one would have to search through a half-dozen texts on chemical thermodynamics to find how to treat in detail problems involving such topics as phase changes at elevated temperatures and pressures, the relation of chemical equilibrium to the earth’s gravitational field, or the effects of differences in pressure within a system".

The 2008 book Thermodynamics in Earth Sciences, by American geologist Jimabitra Ganguly, based on courses taught at the University of Arizona, gives an exposition of a large spectrum of geological, geochemical and geophysical problems that are amenable to thermodynamic analysis. It also includes selected problems in planetary sciences, relationships between thermodynamics and microscopic properties, particle size effects, methods of approximation of thermodynamic properties of minerals, and some kinetic ramifications of entropy production. [3]

1. Anderson, Greg, M. and Crerar, David A. (1993). Thermodynamics in Geochemistry - the Equilibrium Model. New York: Oxford University Press.
2. (a) Kern, Raymond and Weisbrod, Alain. (1967). Thermodynamics for Geologists (preface to English edition by Robert M. Garrels). San Francisco: Freeman, Cooper and Co.
(b) Robert Garrels - Wikipedia .
3. Ganguly, Jimabitra. (2008). Thermodynamics in Earth Sciences. Springer.
4. (a) Murchison, Roderick. (1867). Siluria. Publisher.
(b) Fegley, Bruce. (2013). Practical Chemical Thermodynamics for Geoscientists (with contributions by Rose Osborne) (pg. 1). Academic Press.

Further reading
● Nordstrom, Darrell K. (1986). Geochemical Thermodynamics. Blackwell Science Inc.
● Anderson, Greg M. (1996). Thermodynamics of Natural Systems. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
● Anderson, Greg M. (2005). Thermodynamics of Natural Systems (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
● Nordstrom, Darrell K., and Munoz, James L. (2006). Geochemical Thermodynamics (2nd ed). The Blackburn Press.

TDics icon ns