GEO9900 – Chemical processes in soil and ground water

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The main geochemical reactions controling the chemical composition of soil and ground water are treated in detail, and how these can be quantified and used in interpreting different processes affecting the water quality and simulated by geochemical transport modeling. Equilibrium and kinetics in water-mineral-gas systems are covered, with special emphasis on CO2 - carbonate reactions, mineral weathering, redox-reactions, ion exchange, sorption, and pollution of organic chemicals. An understanding of these procecces and a corresponding quantification is required to predict the effect of contaminant spill and human influence. The course emphases computer modeling of geochemical reactions and transport of solutes in soil- and groundwater, specially the interplay of unsaturated/saturated flow and geochemical reactions.

Learning outcome

To give PhD fellows an understanding of main chemical interaction processes among natural waters and the solid constituents of soils and aquifers, and not least how these processes can be quantified and simulated. Give the theoretical basis for reactive transport and give the students practical skills in geochemical simulations.

Knowledge aims:

  • Be able to identify and define the major processes and reactions taking place in soil- and groundwater systems
  • Be able to describe and quantify these processes separately and in concert

Level of skills:
After finishing the class, the student should be able to

  • evaluate the main processes giving rise to the chemical composition of soil- and groundwater systems
  • calculate equilibrium concentrations of major species in pore water in contact with minerals and solid surfaces
  • perform computer simulations of equilibrium and kinetic reactions of a wide range of water-rock systems.
  • perform advanced computer simulations of a variety of reactive transport cases.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Basic training in chemistry; KJM1000 – Introduction to chemistry (discontinued) or similar classes.

Recommended previous knowledge

Physical chemistry/chemical thermodynamics in addition to general knowledge in chemistry, physics and geosciences

Overlapping courses


Intensive class over three weeks in spring semester. There is an introductory part separated from the core instruction period. There are regular class-room teaching and computer exercises. There is a literature case study to be presented in class, homework problems to be handed in and an individual modeling project report to be submitted.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Studies administration, email address:

We reserve the right to cancel teaching in this course in semesters when less than 3 students are admitted.


The individual project report counts 50% of total grade, final exam counts 50% of total grade. The final exam is oral or written depending on the number for students registered on the course.

The literature case study, homework problems and modeling report must be approved prior to the final exam.

Language of examination

In this course any written exam questions or assignment questions may be available in English only.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language