This course is part of the programme
Master’s study programme Environment (second cycle)

Objectives and competences

Students will learn to use chemical tools and principles in studies of geological and environmental processes. Students get acquainted with the distribution and movement of elements in and between Earth's spheres (lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere) and with basic mechanisms of migration, distribution and transformation of most common pollutants in the environment in contact with water, soil and rocks. At the end of the course, students will know the relevance of chemistry to for solving problems using real data sets and to explain complex natural phenomena at the interface of chemistry, geology, biology, hydrology, soil science and human activities.


Knowledge of chemistry and geology adequate to the 1st level of the Environment study programme


• Introduction to geochemistry
• Cosmochemistry
• Chemical composition of Earth’s spheres
• Chemical elements in geological systems
• Radiogeochronology
• Solutions, equilibria and phase diagrams
• Atmosphere
• Geochemistry of oceans
• Modelling processes in aquatic environments
• Biogeochemistry
• Geochemistry of weathering and sedimentary processes
• Use of tracers in the environment
• Application of stable isotopes in environmental research
• Brief overview of analytical methods in geochemistry

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

Students will understand element behaviour in a geological context and relate this to how elements redistribute between Earth's spheres. They will be able to distinguish the main geochemical reservoirs in the Earth and think in terms of reservoir interactions, as well as the theory and application of most common methods for the analysis of geological and water samples. Knowledge about chemical compositions, structures and properties of rocks, aquatic solutions and gasses in natural systems will be used to explain natural processes, such as formation of ore deposits or karstic features, or to understand the migration and transformation of pollutants form sources through different environmental compartments in contact with water, soil and rocks.


• C. A. J. Appelo, D. Postma, »Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution«, Taylor & Francis; 2nd edition, 2005. Catalogue E-version
• F. Albarède, »Geochemistry; an Introduction«, Cambridge University Press; 2nd edition, 2005. Catalogue E-version


Oral presentation of seminary work (15 %), written exam (15 %)

Lecturer's references

Associate professor of geology at University of Nova Gorica

ŽVAB ROŽIČ, Petra, DOLENEC, Tadej, LOJEN, Sonja, KNIEWALD, Goran, DOLENEC, Matej. Using stable nitrogen isotopes in Patella sp. to trace sewage-derived material in coastal ecosystems. Ecological indicators, ISSN 1470-160X, 2014, vol. 36, str. 224-230, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.07.023. [COBISS.SI-ID 1072478]

SKUDNIK, Mitja, JERAN, Zvonka, BATIČ, Franc, SIMONČIČ, Primož, LOJEN, Sonja, KASTELEC, Damijana. Influence of canopy drip on the indicative N, S and [delta]15 N content in moss Hypnum cupressiforme. Environmental pollution, ISSN 0269-7491. [Print ed.], 2014, vol. 190, str. 27-35, ilustr., doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.03.016. [COBISS.SI-ID 7917177]

LOJEN, Sonja, CUKROV, Marijana, CUKROV, Neven. ariability of stable isotope fingerprints of the Serpulid sicopomatus enigmaticus within a permanently stratified estuary : implications for (palaeo)environmental Interpretations. Estuaries and coasts, ISSN 1559-2723, 2014, vol. 37, issue 2, str. 436-448, doi: 10.1007/s12237-013-9685-1. [COBISS.SI-ID 26922279]

CUKROV, Neven, TEPIĆ, Nataša, OMANOVIĆ, Dario, LOJEN, Sonja, BURA-NAKIĆ, Elvira, VOJVODIĆ, Vjeročka, PIŽETA, Ivanka. Qualitative interpretation of physico-chemical and isotopic parameters in the Krka River (Croatia) assessed by multivariate statistical analysis. International journal of environmental analytical chemistry, ISSN 0306-7319, 2012, vol. 92, issue 10, str. 1187-1199, doi: 10.1080/03067319.2010.550003. [COBISS.SI-ID 25250343]

ZUPANC, Vesna, BURNIK ŠTURM, Martina, LOJEN, Sonja, KACJAN-MARŠIĆ, Nina, ADU-GYAMFI, Joseph, BRAČIČ-ŽELEZNIK, Branka, URBANC, Janko, PINTAR, Marina. Nitrate leaching under vegetable field above a shallow aquifer in Slovenia. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment, ISSN 0167-8809. [Print ed.], 2011, vol. 144, issue 1, str. 167-174, ilustr., doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2011.08.014. [COBISS.SI-ID 6820217]