GLY 3200: Mineralogy

4 credit hours

Instructor: Dr. Jeff Ryan

Office: SCA 507

Labs: SCA 508, SCA 117, CHE 323

[When looking for me, check my labs as well as my office, as I spend a good bit of time shuttling from one to the other.]


[The best way to contact me - I check and answer my email a lot!]

Office Phone: (813) 974-1598 [Not a good way to contact me, as I'm seldom there]

Office hours*: Tuesday 3:30-5 PM, Wednesday 1:00-4 PM, Thursdays 3:30-5 PM

*These are the times I will be expecting to hear from y'all each week if you have questions or problems. In all likelihood I won't be in the office, but I will be in one of my labs. I WILL drop what I'm doing to help you out at these times, so please ask! If other times to meet are necessary, please let's arrange that in advance so I'll actually be there for you.

Teaching Assistant: Livio Tornabene


Office hours: Tentatively, in CHE 325, and y'all are going to figure out when today!

Meeting times: T-R, 12:00 to 3:20 PM

Meeting Place: CHE 325.

Class Website:

Please note that in this class, lab and lecture are not treated as separate entities, as they were in your introductory courses. Activities and class lectures will be interwoven (with reasonably generous breaks!) in both sessions each week. It is thus criticially important that you make a point of attending each class session! Also, we WILL be using the Internet as part of this course, both for additional text materials, and for homework exercises, so you will need to set up a USF computer account! See me about this if you have questions.

Textbooks: Required

Perkins -- Mineralogy

MacKenzie and Adams -- A Color Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section

For mineral identification purposes, I strongly suggest that you purchase a rock and mineral guidebook. A number of good ones are available. If you want my assessments of any of them, just ask!

Other Required Materials:

A hand Lens: Preferably a 10X pocket magnifying lens. I recommend a Hastings Triplet, which gives distortion-free magnification. The Coddington doublet magnifiers are also acceptable, but are less clear around the edges. A decent lens runs about $25-$40, but it is a long-term investment for a geologist - the one I bought for mineralogy (in 1979!!) still goes to the field with me every summer. Where to buy these? The Nature Company, World of Science. Or, we can order them for you.

Colored Pencils: you will be doing a bit of sketching in this class, and color helps.

Ruler, Protractor: again, for sketching.

NOTE: all this stuff we're asking you to buy for Mineralogy, you will need in the vast majority of the upper-level Geology courses that are to come!

MINERALOGY, strictly defined, is the Study (logia, from Greek) of minerals. The origins of the discipline of mineralogy date back hundreds of years to the first systematic studies of mineral deposits (De Re Metallica, by Agricola). The development of mineralogy as a field of inquiriy has been strongly influenced first by economic imperatives (the study of ores and gemstones) and in modern times by materials science. From the perspective of a geologist, however, mineralogy is a critical discipline because minerals are the constituents that make up rocks. The Earth and all the other terrestrial planets are composed of rocks, so Mineralogy is at its essence an examination of the "building blocks" of the solid Earth. This term we will show you how geologists use minerals to understand the chemical compositions and evolution of rocks (the primary subject matter of Petrology, which y'all will do next term), and use Mineral Assemblages to make inferences about the structure and makeup of the Earth's interior.

Two key disciplines provide the major tools that we will use in Mineralogy:

Crystallography, which is the the study of crystalline structures. The aspects of crystallography used in mineralogy are the techniques of mineral identification (i.e., the use of physical, chemical, optical or crystallographic properties as a tool to recognize minerals), and Crystal Chemistry (how chemical constituents can bond to create crystalline solids). Over 30% of our class time will be spent on mastering these essential "nuts and bolts" aspects of mineralogy.

Geochemistry is essentially the principles and tools of Chemistry applied to studies of the earth. Pretty much every field in geology makes some use of geochemistry. In Mineralogy, we will become familiar with two aspects of geochemistry:

1) Phase equilibria - how mineral assemblages in rocks develop via melting, crystallization and other processes, and how they change as a function of changing pressures and temperatures.

2) Analytical Geochemistry - the techniques used for measuring the bulk chemical compositions of rocks, the abundances of trace elements, and isotope ratios.

Geochemistry will pervade most of what we do in this class, and analytical geochemistry will get special attention during a few of our activities this term.

The Form of the Course Each session will include both "lecture" material (actual lectures, or class discussion sessions) and associated hands-on "lab" activities. Both lecture and lab content will be very "tools" oriented, as the goal of this class is for you to be able to Time will be alotted in each session for less formal "tutorial" work, where you can go through things one-on-one with me and/or the teaching assistant.

Evaluated Activities:

1) Mineral Identification/Description: Over the course of the term, we will present to you ~100 common minerals, as found in hand sample, as constituents of rocks, and in thin sections for microscopic examination. Our goal is to get y'all to the point that you can recognize many of these minerals on the spot, or at least via a few simple tests. The only way to do this is to look at a lot of different samples of them, so we'll provide you with many trays of samples and many thin sections to examine. While we will spend some class time talking about them, introducing the samples to you, and providing y'all some examination/tutorial time to work on them, learning them will ultimately be your responsibility! I will be available during my post-class office-hours for "skull sessions" with y'all on this, and your TA is also available, but this will, in part, always be "homework" of a form.

You'll be evaluated on this effort via the "samples of the week": a short quiz consisting of one or two samples related to assigned mineral sets, which you will have to answer a couple questions about. There will be 10 quizzes given, at a rate of one per week after the second week: none of them will require more than 15 minutes to do. On these quizzes, there will be NO PARTIAL CREDIT GIVEN - your answer must be correct to get credit for the quiz!! Successful completion of this requirement will entail correctly completing eight (8) of these quizzes, so you can afford to miss (or choose not to take) a couple of them.

You will have the option to make up your no-credit quiz results in the last weeks of the term. On this make-up quiz, partial credit will be given where appropriate. You may choose to retake any quiz that you tried but didn't get right, but you MAY NOT re-take quizzes that you DID NOT take when first offered! Extenuating circumstances (emergencies, medical, etc.) will be considered case by case, but only if a satisfactory excuse is presented at the time of the missed quiz.

As you will see, this aspect of the class will be a BIG HELP on your tests, so spend some time with it!!

16% of your Final Grade.

2) Examinations: We will have two exams, one at the midterm, and one during finals week. The exams will be investigative - i.e., you will use the "tools" for understanding minerals and rocks that we shall train you in to do these tests. As such, both of the exams will be, after a form, "take home tests" - you will have PLENTY of time to work on them!! Details on the first test will be provided directly; the second test will be discussed shortly after the first one is due.

Each 20% of the Final Grade,

40%, total, of the Final Grade.

3) Hands-on Exercises in Class: These will generally be short exercises, to be finished on the day assigned, though a couple may be more involved undertakings that carry across several sessions. All will be practicals oriented toward developing the skills of mineral identification, and the interpretation of igneous and/or metamorphic rocks. Point values will vary for each exercise.

To encourage y'all to go back and correct your mistakes on these exercises (which will be essential if you're going to succeed on the tests!), I'm offering some limited "grade forgiveness": you will have the opportunity to correct your errors and hand in the exercises again for re-grading. If you get it right on the second go, you'll get 50% of the points you lost! [NOTE: Material sets for in-class activities will be maintained for three (3) weeks after the activity for make-up purposes, after which "the bus is gone." And, NO POINTS may be made up on exercises that are not handed in on time!]

24% of the Final Grade.

4) Homework exercises on the Web: These will be assigned periodically, with due dates in the next class session (generally they will be assigned over the weekend!). The quantitative stuff that we do will mostly happen here, along with some of what we do in petrographic microscopy.

15% of the Final Grade

5) Field Trip: There will be an extended field exercise for this class, which will occur over a four-day block somewhere in the vicinity of October 14-19. The trip is REQUIRED (and generally they're a lot of fun!), and students who attend WILL HAVE A DISTINCT LEG-UP on their final exam, so you should really try to go, even though it is only worth 5% of the Final Grade!


Tentative Class Schedule:

(Depending on y'all's needs, things may slide, re-arrange, or in rare cases disappear. Web-based homework activities are not firmly scheduled, as when we get to them will depend on how we all progress. These will be assigned in class (another reason to be here frequently!)


8/24: Introduction, Groundrules, and logistics


8/26: The Earth as a Physical and Chemical System -- Interior structure (what we know and how), Thermal profiles, sources and fluxes of interior heat. Sources of information as to the chemical and mineralogical makeup of the deep Earth.

Activity 1: What is the Earth made of? {A review of common minerals and rocks from Physical Lab, and the properties we use to distinguish them.]


8/31: Minerals as chemical compounds - the basics of chemistry and crystal chemistry.

Activity 2: Tools for Identifying Minerals, Part 1: Physical properties and their origins (Hardness, cleavage, density, color/luster/streak acid/water solubility, etc.)

Readings: Perkins, Chapters 1, 2, and 3.


9/2: Minerals as Chemical Compounds continued. Mineral classification.

Mineral Set No. 1: Elements and Oxides

Activity 3: Mineral formulas and mineral compositions - how they are related.

Readings: Perkins, Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 13.


9/7: Mineral Classifications and relationships are connected to internal atomic structures! Close Packing structures; Pauling's Rules; Ionic radii and charge controls on elemental substitutions.

Activity 4: What fits where? Partition coefficients and trace constituents in mineral structures.

Readings: Perkins, Chapter 13


9/9: The internal atomic Structure of Minerals, Continued.

Sample of the Day No. 1!

Mineral Set No. 2: Halides and Evaporites.

Begin Activity 5*: Tools for Identifying Minerals, Part 2: X-ray diffractometry (this one will stretch over a few sessions)

Readings: Perkins, Chapter 13


9/14: The external expression of Atomic structure: Crystal forms. Rudiments of symmetry, and the crystal systems.

Activity 6: Tools for Identifying Minerals, Part 3: Introduction to the Petrographic Microscope. Determining indices of refraction, and the concept of Relief.

Activity 5 continues....

Readings: Perkins Chapters 9 and 10


9/16: More on Crystals.

Activity 7: More Optical Insights: What is birefringence, and which minerals have it?

Sample of the Day #2!

Mineral Set #3: Carbonates of many flavors, and their occurrences.

Activity 5 continues....

Readings: Perkins, Chapters 11 and 12.


9/21: Finish up discussions of crystals.

Activity 7, continued: Continued examination of birefringence in minerals. Optic sign and interference patterns; extinction angles.

Activity 5 continues....


9/23: Minerals typical of the main Rock Types. Review of the Rock Cycle

Sample of the Day #3!

Mineral Set #4: "simple" silicates (single tetrahedron)

Activity 8: Other properties of minerals in thin section: cleavage, crystal form, and pleochroism.

Activity 5 completed (somewhere hereabouts)


9/28: Minerals typical of Igneous rocks: how they form, and where.

Activity 9: Mineralogical examinations of rocks 1: rocks from the Earth's Mantle and Lower Crust.


9/30: Minerals typical of Igneous rocks - mafic and ultramafic rocks. Their forms, origins, and identification.

Sample of the Day #4

Mineral Set #5: paired and ring structure silicates.


10/5: Minerals of mafic and ultramafic rocks, continued. Understanding how rocks crystallize, and how crystals form and segregate.

Activity 10: Mineralogical examinations of rocks 2: basalt, diabase, and gabbro mineralogy, tectonic settings, and origins.


10/7: Minerals in Felsic/intermediate igneous rocks - subduction zones and mountain belts. The relevance of Bowen's reaction series.

Sample of the Day #5

Mineral Set #6: Chain Silicates.


10/12: Minerals in Felsic/intermediate rocks, continued. The role of water, and evidence for magmatic water in the mineralogy of granites and andesites.

Activity 11: Identification of minerals in rocks 3: the mineral assemblages in Granites and other felsic rocks.



10/14*: Truly Queer Minerals! Alkaline Igneous Rocks and their odd places of origin: Hotspots, and Continental Rifts.

Activity 12: Alkaline rock associations (Carbonatite-Ijolite and Feldspathoid Syenties).

Sample of the Day #6

Mineral Set #7: Framework silicates (out of polymer order, for a reason!)





10/21: Rift to Drift: When do we get to an ocean? Indications from sedimentary rocks and their mineral assemblages, and from igneous rock chemistry and mineralogy.

Activity 13: An ancient example of an opening rift? Proterozoic to Cambrian rocks of western NC and VA.

Sample of the Day #7

Mineral Set #8: Sheet silicates.

Special Activity - The Chemical Analysis of Rocks via DC Plasma Spectrometry! (A multi-session, out-of-class activity - Participation encouraged, but not required - extra credit!!)


10/26 and 10/28: FREE DAYS: Professor and TA at GSA in Denver!! (Work on your Final exams!!)


11/2: Activity 14: The third leg of the Rock Cycle: Metamorphism. Rock Names, Fabrics, textures, and origins.

Sample of the Day #8

Mineral Set #9


11/4: Metamorphic profiles in mountain belts. Barrovian trends. AFM and ACF diagrammatic descriptions, based on minerals present.

Activity 15: Metamorphism during collision: Greenschist and Amphibolite Facies rocks, and their associated minerals - as found in the Appalachians.


11/9: Very High Grade Metamorphism: Granulites, verging on Migmatites - how can we tell what's happening?

Activity 16: Very High Grade metamorphism of pelitic, mafic, and ultramafic rocks: A type example in the Blue Ridge of SW North Carolina

Sample of the Day #9

Mineral Set #10: Ores (sulfides, mostly)


11/11: High grade metamorphism continued.

Activity 17: High P/T metamorphic mineral assemblages, and inferring protoliths.


11/15: Metamorphism in active subduction zones: Blueschists and Eclogites

Activity 18: Assessing the effects of diagenesis/low grade metamorphism through cavity fill/vein assemblages.

Sample of the Day #10!


11/18: . Very low grade metamorphism, and diagenesis: Zeolites, clays, chlorite and glauconite. Where does diagenesis end and metamorphism begin.

Activity 19: The myriad "economic" minerals and their uses.


11/23: We're here if we need to be - otherwise....


11/30: Hydrothermal processes and minerals. A smattering of economic mineralogy



12/2: Lecture and Activities loose ends.


Hand in your final Exam by the end of our scheduled exam period - After that, the Bus is Gone!!!

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