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    The structure, chemistry and properties of minerals. Describing and identifying minerals and rocks in hand specimen and the optical microscope. Using observations of minerals and rocks to understand Earth processes.

    This paper introduces the physical and chemical principles that control the crystallisation of minerals. A practical and theoretical background to mineral optics, essential to identifying minerals, is provided using petrographic microscopes. Mineralogical knowledge is then applied to the classification of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. This is a compulsory course for all students intending to major in Geology at Otago, and is also a prerequisite to several of the optional 200-300 level papers.

    About this paper

    Paper title Minerals and Rocks
    Subject Geology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    GEOL 112
    Pre or Corequisite
    EAOS 111
    Schedule C
    Background requirements: A basic knowledge of high-school level chemistry will be helpful.
    Teaching staff

    Co-ordinator: Dr Marco Brenna
    Professor David Prior

    Paper Structure

    Practical sessions will focus on one of the main rock-forming minerals each week of the semester combining theoretical background and practical activities.

    Teaching Arrangements

    Two x 2 hour practicals per week.


    Klein, C. & Philpotts A.R., 2017 Earth Materials. Cambridge University Press.

    Nesse, W. 2012. Introduction to Optical Mineralogy. Oxford University Press.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

    • Ability to identify a variety of common minerals and rocks in hand specimen
    • Basic understanding of crystallography and its relationship to optical mineralogy
    • Use of transmitted polarised light microscope to identify minerals and rocks in hand specimen
    • Basic understanding of mineral- and rock-forming processes


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 08:00-09:50 9-12, 15-22
    Wednesday 13:00-14:50 9-12, 15-22
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