Learning outcomes of the course unit
The goal of the course is to provide the fundamental concepts concerning how rocks (magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary) form and evolve within the Earth plate tectonic environments. In the first part of the course (“Laboratory activity”), students will learn the principles under which the polarising microscope operates and become proficient in its use to study and classify the thin sections of the different rock types outcropping on the Earth surface.
In the second part of the course (“Frontal lessons”), students will learn how petrographic information can be used to locate the different types of rock (magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary) to specific Earth plate tectonic environments.
Course contents summary
Basic methods used to describe rocks of the Earth’s crust and mantle (i.e., magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks) in hand specimen.
Optical mineralogy methods used to identify the common rock-forming minerals in thin section, by use of polarizing optical microscope.
Classification of the magmatic, metamorphic and silicoclastic sedimentary rocks according to their mineral content as well as by their texture, using the schemes proposed by the International Union of Geological Sciences.
Physical state and composition of the Earth.
Plate tectonics: an outline.
The rock cycle.
origin and evolution of magmas ;
petrographic and geochemical features of igneous rock;
classification of igneous rocks;
magmatic series and geodynamic contest.
physical and chemical factors controlling metamorphism;
kinds of metamorphism;
classification of metamorphic rocks;
metamorphism and geodynamics.
Structure, composition and classification of sedimentary rocks: an outline.
see "Course contents".
W. S. MacKenzie, C. H. Donaldson, C. Guilford, Atlante delle rocce magmatiche e delle loro tessiture, Zanichelli
B. W. D. Yardley, W. S. MacKenzie, C. Guilford, Atlante delle rocce metamorfiche e delle loro microstrutture, Zanichelli
Klein C., Philpotts A. (2013), EARTH MATERIALS: introduction to mineralogy and petrology. Cambridge University Press.
L. Morbidelli (2005). Le rocce e i loro costituenti. Seconda edizione. Bardi Ed., Roma
A. Peccerillo & D. Perugini (2003). Introduzione alla Petrografia ottica. Morlacchi Ed.,Perugia
The course consists of frontal lessons and laboratory activity.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam consists of a practical work (written report that summarizes the observation and classification of 3 rock thin sections) and an oral evaluation with questions on the petrogenetic concepts presented during the lessons.
Teaching tools: Power Point presentations; hand samples and thin sections of magmatic, metamorphic and silicoclastic-sedimentary rocks; use of the polarizing optical microscope.