Find a
Select grade level(s) Select resource type(s) Select collection(s) Select standard(s) Skip navigation Digital Library for Earth System Education
Digital Library for Earth System Education
Search tips
Exploring Geochemistry in the Classroom Using MELTS Computational Tools
This guide instructs teachers in classroom use of the MELTS software package. MELTS is a software package designed to facilitate thermodynamic modeling of phase equilibria in magmatic systems. It is used by scientists to model igneous processes such as the composition of magma melts as pressure and temperature change, or to test scenarios such as how much sulfur a volcano gives off. Teaching topics include: mineralogy and thermodynamics, the mineral composition and properties of igneous rocks, and compositional variations in Earth's mantle and crustal materials. Students will learn to interpret phase diagrams; understand how melting can drive compositional changes in mantle and crustal rocks; use forward modelling to examine crystal fractionation and equilibrium crystallization; and perform experiments on a computer using compositional data from scientific literature. There is a link to the MELTS website with instructions for using the tool, links to scientific and educational resources that use the tool, and instructions for citing its use.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
  • College (15-16)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Guide for instructor
  • Tools:
    • Software
  • Educational theory and practice
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geochemistry
    • Geology
    • Mineralogy or petrology
Technical requirements:
Requires MELTS applet or downloadable software
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
We encourage the reuse and dissemination of the material on this site for educational, noncommercial purposes as long as attribution is retained. To this end the material on this site is offered under a Creative Commons license. Authors of original works submitted to SERC retain their copyright. But in volunteering the works they agree to offer it under this license allowing for reuse and redistribuition with attribuition. Authors are responsible for obtaining copywrite permission for all materials that they distribute within their work.
DLESE Catalog ID: DATA-CLASS-000-000-000-016
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Carleton College
Science Education Resource Center (SERC)