Characterization and identification of mineral unknowns: A mineralogy term project

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9 Scopus citations


It is possible in a single term undergraduate mineralogy course to complete a project involving the characterization and identification of mineral unknowns. These identifications are based on physical properties, unit cell parameters or d-spacings determined from powder X-ray diffraction scans, chemical composition determined on an electron microbeam instrument, and optical properties determined with a petrographic microscope. Each phase of the project is timed to compliment the sequence of concepts covered in mineralogy lecture and lab. Such a project serves to (1) illustrate practical applications of methods discussed in lecture; (2) illustrate the connection between mineralogy and topics covered in ancillary courses such as chemistry and physics; (3) pique the interest of some students for pursuing mineralogic and petrologic research projects later in their careers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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