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.
Mineral species identification in thin section
basic knowledge in chemistry and physics
Inorganic chemistry and general mineralogy knoweledge
Course contents summary
The mineralogy studies the minerals that are the building blocks of rocks. The mineralogy is preparatory courses of Geological Sciences as minerals are the basic units for the study of Earth sciences and because of the multiple interactions between minerals and man.
Optical properties of minerals. General behaviour of light waves. Reflection and refraction. Double refraction. Birefringence. Mineralogy optical microscope. Measure of refractive indices. Orthoscopic observations with PPL and XPL. Interference colors; Michel-Levy table. Auxiliary lamina. Periodica extinction; right and inclined extinctions. Extinction signs. Conoscopic observations. Interference figures in uniaxial and biaxial crystals. Determination on the interference figures
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.Optical mineralogy, extinction angle, Becke line, optic sign, birefringence, pleochroism. Practical determination of optical properties in minerals
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, CambridgeDyar et al Mineralogy and optical mineralogy (2008), Mineralogical society of america Philippot (2016) Earth meterials Cambridge university press
Bonatti S., Franzini M., Cris tallografia mineralogica, BORINGHIERI, Torino. Carobbi G., ( Mazzi F., Bernardini
G.P.), Fondamenti di cris tallografia e ottica cris tallografica, USES, Firenze. Carobbi G., ( Cipriani, C., Garavelli
C.), Cris tallografia chimica e mineralogia s peciale, USES, Firenze. Deer W.A., Howie R.A., Zus sman J.,
Introduzione ai Minerali che cos tituis cono le Rocce, ZANICHELLI, Bologna. Gallitelli P., Elementi di Mineralogia,
NISTRI e LISCHI, Pis a. Gottardi G., I minerali, BORINGHIERI, Torino. Klein C., 2004. Mineralogia, Zanichelli,
Bologna Mottana A., Cres pi R., Liborio G., Minerali e rocce, MONDADORI, Milano.
lessons, class and individual demonstrations
Theoretical introduction on crystallographic optics. Learning the usage of optical mineralogical microscope. Identification of the principal mineral species
Assessment methods and criteria
oral exam, with previous test on stereographic projection and on optical properties of a mineral in thin section
Practical exam on an optical microcoscope, and oral test.
frequency, although not mandatory, is highly recommended.