Learning outcomes of the course unit
Mineralogy is designed to provide a deep knowledge of the main rocks minerals,
includine physical and chemical proprieties, in order to acheive a clear identification
The course objectives are to learn about:
1) Basics of morphological and lattice crystallography
2) the physical properties of minerals useful to their identification
3) systematics of the most common minerals in the rocks and in the environment
The course Chemistry must have successfully completed.
Classes in Chemistry and Mathematics
Course contents summary
Physical Properties of Minerals
The mineralogy studies minerals that are the building bricks of rocks. The mineralogy is preliminary to courses on Nature and Environment because of the multiple interactions between minerals and man. The aim of the course is to provide the basics on the chemical and physical properties of minerals and the interaction between minerals and the environment.
Mineral science. Definition of mineral. Translational symmetry: onedimensional,
didimensional (plane lattice) and tridimensional order (space lattice). Symmetry
elements: rotation, reflection, inversion, rotation with inversion, rotation with
reflection, rotation with translation and reflection with translation. Space groups.
Crystal classes. Crystal sistems. Steno’s and Hauy’s laws. Miller indexing of faces
and edges. The stereographic projection.
Crystalchemistry. The main elements of the earth crust. Cation radius and
coordination polyedra. Pauling’s rules. Crystal structures of the main rocks minerals.
Isomorphism. Compositional variation in minerals. Recalculation of chemical
analyses..Phase diagrams of geological interest, with one, two. three components.
Systematic description of rock-forming silicates.
Physical properties of minerals and relation with the structure.
Optical microscopy. Nature of light. Isotropic and anisotropic crystals. The polarizing
microscope. The optical indicatrix and its orientation in the different crystal
systems. Determination of the refractive index with the Becke line. Absorption and
pleochroism. Interference colors. Extinction angle. Sign of elongation Observation of
interference figures with convergent light. Determination of optic sign. Optical
properties of important rock-forming minerals.
Definition of mineral. Minerals in the environment, resources, and environmental risks.
Part 1. The minerals: what they are made of
Mineralogical crystallography: patterns bi-and tri-dimensional. Transaltional symmetry and crystalline systems. Morphological crystallography.
Steno and Hauy laws. Miller indices.
Indexing of faces and edges. Elements of morphological symmetry
of crystals. The 32 point groups. The
stereographic projection: projection and recognition of the symmetry elements and determination of the point symmetry in crystals.
Part 2. Chemical and Physical Properties: a path to identification.
Scalar and vectorial properties and relations with the symmetry of the mineral: thermal expansion, compressibility, speed of light in mineral, hardness and magnetization. X-ray diffraction and mineral identification.
Chemical properties: the main elements of the Earth's crust. Ionic radius and coordination polyhedra. The tetrahedron SiO4. Pauling's rules. Types and examples of polymorphism in minerals.
Isomorphism. Phase diagrams of mineralogical interest, for one, two three components.
Part 3. Minerals in nature and the environment
Systematic mineralogy: main structural features,
chemical and physical properties of the most common mineral groups. It will also be examined the distribution of minerals in the environment and the interaction with humans. Silica phases. Feldspars: chemistry and order-disorder transformations. Feldspathoids. Inosilicates: amphibole and pyroxene. Phyllosilicates: derivation of structural types, mica and clay minerals. Nesosilicate: olivine and garnet. Overview of epidotes, tourmaline, anhydrous silicates of Al, zircon.
Non silicates: the groups CO32-, SO42-, PO43-(carbonates, sulfates and phosphates) and main differences with the silicates. Oxides: compact cubic and hexagonal packings. Outline of sulphides and mantle minerals.
Bonatti S., Franzini M., Cristallografia mineralogica, BORINGHIERI, Torino.
Carobbi G., ( Mazzi F., Bernardini G.P.), Fondamenti di cristallografia e ottica
cristallografica, USES, Firenze.
Carobbi G., ( Cipriani, C., Garavelli C.), Cristallografia chimica e mineralogia
speciale, USES, Firenze.
Deer W.A., Howie R.A., Zussman J., Introduzione ai Minerali che costituiscono le
Rocce, ZANICHELLI, Bologna..
Klein C., 2004. Mineralogia, Zanichelli, Bologna.
Mottana A., Crespi R., Liborio G., Minerali e rocce, MONDADORI, Milano
Lessons and drill-lessons.
Assessment methods and criteria
Individual oral examination
Oral with preliminary test of stereographi projections