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Module GL3336: Microscopy and Crystalline Rocks

Module GL3336
Co-ordinator: Dr Emma Tomlinson
Course Type:  
Assessment: Examination (40%), continuous assessments (60%)
ECTS: 10 Credits

GL2205, GL2206

Contact hours & timing:

Michaelmas Term
Lectures/Practicals Weeks 1-16, seven hours per week

Module Learning Aims:

This module aims to:
(1) Provide an understanding of the mechanisms of formation of minerals
(2) Provide an understanding of the mineral energetics and stability
(3) Broaden and deepen skills for identification and description of metamorphic and igneous rocks in hand specimen and thin section.
(4) Provide an understanding of how metamorphic and igneous are classified.
(5) Demonstrate how composition dictates the mineralogy of crystalline rocks.
(6) Develop an appreciation of how textural relationships amongst minerals can be used to infer the history of crystalline rocks.

Module Content:

This module will to consolidate and expand upon knowledge of the chemistry and appearance of minerals developed in the Senior Freshman year. The module starts with an introduction to the crystallographic and optical properties of minerals and discusses the formation and stability of minerals. The module next investigates the most important metamorphic and igneous rocks at a range of scales (tectonic setting, outcrop, hand specimen and thin section).

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Identify the most important mechanisms of mineral crystallisation and transformation.
  • Describe the optical properties of major minerals and how they relate to crystal structure.
  • Describe how the chemistry of a rock dictates its mineralogy.
  • Correctly identify and classify major igneous and metamorphic minerals and rocks.
  • Interpret mineral textures.
  • Outline the various tectonic regimes in which crystalline rocks form.


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Last updated 28 June 2017