Through laboratory work, this module introduces students to the chemical, physical and crystallographic properties of the major rock-forming minerals and to the use of the petrographic microscope for mineral identification.
Coordinator: Dr Dominic Papineau
- Module Details
Title Earth Materials UG Code GEOL0001 Coordinator Dr Dominic Papineau Other Contributors Term 1 Credit 15 credits Written Exam Coursework 100%
(8 practical write-ups: 450 words (max.) plus diagrams, 6% each);
(1 hand specimen test: 100 words, 12%);
(10 short question sheets, 4% each)
Pre-Requisites None for Earth Science Students Maths & Stats Content and Requirement Minimal mathematical content. Simple algebra, Pythagoras's theorem required. Total Number of Hours of Student Work 188 hours Hours of Lectures/Seminars 12 hours Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes 28 hours Hours of Tutorials 0 Days of Fieldwork 0 Other None Categorizing Student Performance Levels
Topics studied in laboratory work include:
- Phase Diagrams;
- The factors that determine mineral structures;
- Introduction to Crystallography;
- Introduction to Crystal Optics;
- Mineral and Silicate Classification;
- Olivine and Garnet Groups;
- Al2SiO5 Polymorphs;
- Pyroxene Group;
- Amphibole Group;
- Sheet Minerals;
- Silica Polymorphs;
- Accessory minerals;
- Sulphur minerals;
- Other non-silicate minerals.
Through laboratory work, the course introduces students to:
- the chemistry and physical properties of minerals;
- morphological elements of crystallography;
- the optical properties of minerals, introduced in conjunction with use of the petrographic microscope;
- the physical, chemical and optical properties of the major rock-forming mineral groups.
Students will become familiar with the following concepts:
- Phase diagrams;
- Atomic Structure and bonding in crystalline solids;
- Principles of structural architecture: including close packing, coordination, number, interstitial sites, coordination polyhedra;
- Elementary crystallography;
- Principles of crystal optics;
- Use of the polarizing microscope.
In addition, they will have a thorough knowledge of the physical, chemical and optical properties of the major rock-forming mineral groups.
Practical and Transferable Outcomes:
- Interpretation of phase diagrams;
- Determination of crystal systems from morphological observations;
- Use of the polarizing microscope to identify major rock-forming minerals;
- Effective communication of information in writing;
- Comprehension of scientific concepts, data and papers;
- Independent study;
- IT skills.