​Geology 254 Optical Mineralogy and Petrology

Dr. M Mayne

Course Synopsis

The use of the petrographic microscope is essential for geologists as it is the most cost effective way of identifying minerals and thus classifying rocks. The course in optical mineralogy is specifically designed to enable the learner to identify minerals based on their optical properties. This knowledge is immediately applied to identifying minerals present in igneous and metamorphic rocks and to classifying these rocks. Basic introductory concepts in petrographic interpretation of mineral assemblages and textures are discussed and their use in identifying igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks explored.​

Course Outcomes

Students should have the following skills at the end of the course.

  • Practical ability to use mineral optical properties to identify the common rock forming minerals in thin sections.

  • Understanding of the petrological classification of igneous and metamorphic rocks from mineral proportion and mineral textural information.

  • Competence in practical igneous and metamorphic rock description.

  • Understanding of simple igneous systems, including the use of binary and ternary phase diagrams in interpreting igneous rock petrogenesis.

  • Understanding of simple metamorphic systems including the use of the phase rule and the concept of equilibrium

  • Practical ability to classify rocks using established geochemical classification systems.

Study Materials and Textbook Recommendations

It is recommended that students taking the course purchase a copy of the following reference book.

Introduction to the Rock-Forming Minerals by Deer, Howie and Zussman, Longman Scientific and Technical

This book is a reference book and will be suitable for use through to the end of your degree and further depending on your career path.

The following websites have useful compilations on optical mineralogy http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/petrolgy/thinsect.htm. This whole site is very good! These sites are also useful and have similar information but just on optical mineralogy

Learning Opportunities

Students are encouraged to consult as many text books and journals as possible. The Optical Microscope laboratories are available at most times, by arrangement with the lecturers.