UCL Module Catalogue


Earth Materials (GEOL0001)

Key information

Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Teaching department
Earth Sciences
Credit value

Alternative credit options

There are no alternative credit options available for this module.


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 polyedral;

• elementary crystallography;

• principles of crystal optics;

• use of the polarizing microscope.

In additon, they will have a thorough knowledge of the physical, chemical and optical properties of the major rock-forming mineral groups.

Module deliveries for 2020/21 academic year

Intended teaching term: Term 1     Undergraduate (FHEQ Level 4)

Teaching and assessment

Mode of study
Methods of assessment
48% Four practical write-ups (900 words maximum + diagrams)
12% One hand-specimen test (100 words)
40% Ten short question sheets
Mark scheme
Numeric Marks

The methods of assessment for affiliate students may be different to those indicated above. Please contact the department for more information.

Other information

Number of students on module in previous year
Module leader
Dr Dominic Papineau
Who to contact for more information

Last updated

This module description was last updated on 5th March 2020.