GEO9900 – Chemical Processes in Soil and Ground Water

Course content

The main geochemical reactions controlling the chemical composition of soil and groundwater are treated in detail, including how these can be quantified and used in interpreting different processes affecting the water quality and simulated by geochemical transport modelling. 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 processes and a corresponding quantification is required to predict the effect of contaminant spill and human influence. The course emphasizes computer modelling of geochemical reactions and transport of solutes in the soil- and groundwater, especially the interplay of unsaturated/saturated flow and geochemical reactions.

Learning outcome

The purpose of the course is to give PhD candidates an understanding of the 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. It will present the theoretical basis for reactive transport and give the candidates practical skills in geochemical simulations.

Knowledge aims: After completing the course, you should be able to

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

Level of skills: After completing the course, you should be able to

  • evaluate the main processes giving rise to the chemical composition of the 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

Admission to the course

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: 

Knowledge in physical chemistry / chemical thermodynamics in addition to general knowledge in chemistry, physics and geosciences.

Overlapping courses


2*2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of exercises per week throughout the semester. There is an introductory part separated from the core instruction period. There is regular classroom teaching and computer exercises. There is a mandatory literature case study to be presented in class, mandatory homework problems to be handed in and an individual modelling 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 Student administration (

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.


  • The literature case study, homework problems and modelling report must be approved prior to the final exam.
  • The individual project report counts 50% towards the final grade.
  • The final exam counts 50% towards the final grade.
  • Both the individual project report and the final exam must be passed separately in order to pass the course.

The final exam is oral or written depending on the number of students registered on the course.

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.

It will also be counted as 1 of the 3 attempts to sit the exam for this course if you sit the exam for one of the following courses:

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Grading scale

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

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.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Dec. 6, 2022 9:19:45 AM

Facts about this course

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