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Foundations of Mineralogy


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 4
  • Tutor: Steve Hirons
  • Assessment: a two-hour theory examination (60%) and four pieces of coursework (40%)

Module description

This module introduces the major rock forming minerals, attempting to provide a basic understanding of their structural and chemical characteristics, and general indication of their origins. The optical properties of the minerals will be discussed, and practical classes will be run to illustrate the minerals in thin section and hand specimens.

Indicative module content

  • Symmetry and crystallography
  • Optics
  • The factors that determine mineral structures
  • Mineral and silicate classifaction
  • Olivine and garnet groups
  • Al2SiO5 polymorphs
  • Pyroxene group
  • Amphibole group
  • Sheet minerals
  • Silica polymorphs
  • Feldspars, and other minerals

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand basic concepts in mineralogy
  • relate structure chemistry and properties of minerals
  • interpret information from hand specimens and thin sections, and graphs
  • demonstrate reasoning based on evidence from hand specimens and thin sections
  • handle data from tables and graphs
  • interpret data, including optical and compositional effects.