EARTHSCI 703 : Hydrothermal Systems: Geothermal Energy and Ore Deposits


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Active hydrothermal systems are dynamic and of vital significance to national energy requirements. In addition, their fossil equivalents are often important sites for ore deposition. This course overviews the geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical features of hydrothermal systems with an emphasis on exploration and development of active systems for geothermal energy, and fossil systems for mineral resources.

Course Overview

Hydrothermal systems are associated with meteoric fluids circulating through the crust that transfer heat to the Earth’s surface from magma bodies, extraterrestrial impact sites or tectonic faults tapping deep-seated reservoirs. The extent, duration, composition and evolution of hydrothermal fluid flow is determined by many factors including host rock character, water-rock interactions, and tectonic and volcanic regime through time. Hydrothermal systems are studied for their geothermal energy potential, natural hazards threat (e.g., explosive hydrothermal eruptions), role in mineralisation, chemical-biological processes (e.g. extremophiles) and as possible incubators for the origin and evolution of life on Earth and elsewhere.   
Lectures and field study in the course cover topics such as geothermal surface manifestations; crustal hydrothermal fluid circulation and composition; hydrothermal alteration and rock properties; controls on hydrothermal explosions; and hydrothermal processes and products in the Solar System.  

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain hydrothermal processes and products, and how they are interpreted in relation to local and global scale phenomena (Capability 1)
  2. Demonstrate intellectual curiosity and work autonomously and in groups (Capability 5)
  3. Communicate effectively using appropriate language and convey information clearly by recording field and other observations, and by written and oral presentation of results and interpretations (Capability 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Group field trip guidebook 40% Group Coursework
Seminar presentation 15% Individual Coursework
Lab work exercises 25% Group & Individual Coursework
Poster presentation 20% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Group field trip guidebook
Seminar presentation
Lab work exercises
Poster presentation

Special Requirements

Must earn a sum of marks of 50% or more from field trip guidebook, research seminar, lab work exercises and poster presentation to pass the course. Course is entirely internally assessed; no final exam.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures or tutorials, 50 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 76 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including lectures/tutorials/presentations/field trip to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities will be supported with online materials.
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Relevant readings will be assigned during the course of the semester, as advised.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Other Information

Students will work in groups for the geothermal surface manifestations field trip to the Taupo Volcanic Zone and subsequent report preparation; groups can be self-selected or will be assigned if not chosen. Reports will be assessed, which will include individual reflections on group dynamics.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 07/06/2021 11:40 p.m.