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Second semester
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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.

Course contents


(knowledge and understanding, learning skills) Definition of mineral. Minerals in the environment, resources, and environmental risks.

Part 1. The minerals: what they are made of (knowledge and understanding, learning skills)
Mineralogical crystallography: patterns bi-and tri-dimensional. Transaltional symmetry and crystalline systems. Morphological crystallography.
Steno and Hauy laws. Miller indices.
(applying knowledge and understanding) Indexing of faces and edges. Elements of morphological symmetry of crystals. The 32 point groups. Recognition of the symmetry elements and determination of the point symmetry in crystals.

Part 2. Chemical and Physical Properties: a path to identification (knowledge and understanding, applying knowledge and understanding, learning skills)
Scalar and vectorial properties and relations with the symmetry of the mineral: thermal expansion, compressibility, speed of light in mineral, hardness and magnetization.
(making judgements, applying knowledge and understanding) Mineral identification.

(learning skills) 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.
(applying knowledge and understanding) Isomorphism. Phase diagrams of mineralogical interest, for one, two three components.

Part 3. Minerals in nature and the environment (knowledge and understanding, learning skills)
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.

Recommended readings

lesson notes; ppt slides shown during lectures are available in the elly repository for students.

Refence books
Klein Mineralogia, Zanichelli
Dyar et al Mineralogy and optical mineralogy, Mineralogical society of america
Philippot Earth meterials Cambridge university press
Wenk Mineralogy Cambridge university press

Teaching methods


Assessment methods and criteria

written test, with possible improvement of the notes by oral test. The written text will consist in 6 questions, two about crystallography, two about mineral physics and phase diagrams, and two aboyut mineral systhematics. The exam could also be done simply by an oral test, with the same kind of exercice.