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School of Environment, Education and Development

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BSc Geography and Geology
Benefit from a wide range of optional topics and practical trips on this combined degree.

BSc Geography and Geology

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:

Unit code EART10501
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


To provide a foundation in mineralogy to serve as a basis for more detailed courses in the second year (especially Igneous Petrology EART20131) and third year (especially Lithospheric Processes EART30332). To appreciate how crystal symmetry and structure governs mineral properties. To become familiar with some of the techniques used in polarised-light microscopy to characterise minerals.

To provide a  

Learning outcomes

O         On successful completion of the course, students will be able to

  1. understand the basic elements of crystal chemistry;
  2. demonstrate the necessary skills for the optical identification of the principal rock-forming minerals;
  3. recognise and describe the symmetry elements  and structures of crystals
  4. describe the optical properties of transparent minerals, and apply various techniques using the polarising microscope to determine these properties and identify unknown minerals.

Teaching and learning methods

1-hour lecture and 2-hour practical each week.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written exam 70%
  • Practical test in weeks 8 (30 %).
  • 1.5 hour written exam in January (70%) [to assess all outcomes].

Feedback methods

A significant portion of the teaching on this course takes place in an informal lab environment, where the lecturer and demonstrators are on hand to answer questions and provide verbal feedback on your work. In addition, sets of multiple choice and short answer questions with instant feedback will be available on Blackboard after most sessions for you to test your knowledge of the course material. These will also help to prepare you for the test in Week 8. Answers and feedback from that test will be available within 2 weeks. Feedback on the January exam will be provided in a lunchtime session when you can look at your marked exam scripts.

Recommended reading

Klein & Philpott (2013) Earth Materials: introduction to mineralogy and petrology, Cambridge  University Press.

Wenk and Bulakh (2004), Minerals: Their Constitution and Origin, Cambridge  University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Practical classes & workshops 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 67

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Samuel Shaw Unit coordinator

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