Learning outcomes of the course unit
The purpose of the course is to provide basic knowledge on the chemical and physical properties of minerals and the interaction between minerals and the environment.
basic knowledge in chemistry and physics
Course contents summary
The mineralogy studies the minerals that are the building blocks of rocks. The mineralogy is preparatory courses of Geological Sciences and Nature and the Environment as minerals are the basic units for the study of Earth sciences and because of the multiple interactions between minerals and man.
Definition of minerals. Minerals in the earth and environment, natural and synthetic.
Part 1. Minerals: what are they made of
Mineralogical crystallography: two-and three-dimensional patterns. Translational symmetry
and crystalline systems. Morphological crystallography. Stensen and Hauy laws. Parametric axes and Miller indices.
Indexing of faces and edges. Elements of symmetry and morphology
of crystals. The 32 point groups. The
stereographic projection: projection of the elements of
symmetry and determination of the point symmetry in ideal crystals.
Part 2: Chemical and physical properties: how to identify minerals
Scalar, vector and tensor properties and relations with the symmetry of the mineral: thermal expansion, compressibility, speed of light, and magnetization. X-ray diffraction and mineral identification: powder diffraction and interpretation of the relative diffraction.
Chemical properties: the main elements of the earth's crust. Ionic radius and coordination polyhedra. The SiO44- tetrahedron. The Pauling rules. Polymorphism and isomorphism in minerals.
Phase diagrams in mineralogy.
Part 3: Minerals in nature and environment
Systematic Mineralogy: main structural features,
chemical and physical properties of the mineral families. The silica minerals. Feldspars: chemistry, and order-disorder transformations. Feldspatoids. Inosilicates: amphibole and pyroxene. Phyllosilicates: derivation of structural types; mica and clay minerals. Orthosilicates: olivine and garnet. Other silicates: epidote, tourmaline, anhydrous silicates of Al, zircon.
Non silicates: the CO32-, SO42-, PO43- groups(carbonates, sulfates and phosphates) and main differences with silicate minerals. Oxides: cubic and hexagonal compact packings. The spinels. Basics on sulphides. The mantle minerals.
Klein C. (2004) Mineralogia, Zanichelli, Bologna
Wenk H.R., Bulakh A. (2004) Minerals , their constitution and origin, Cambridge University press, Cambridge
lessons, class and individual demonstrations
Assessment methods and criteria
oral exam, with previous test on stereographic projection
frequency, although not mandatory, is highly recommended.