Learning outcomes of the course unit
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
Classes in Chemistry and Mathematics
Course contents summary
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.
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.
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral with preliminary test of stereographi projections