Curriculum Guideline

Introduction to Mineralogy

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOL 2300
Introduction to Mineralogy
Earth & Environmental Sciences
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Class 36, Lab 18
Contact Hours
3 Hours Lecture / 3 Hours Laboratory
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction
  1. The primary mode of instruction will involve lectures and laboratories.
  2. Some field trips will be scheduled where appropriate.
  3. Readings will be assigned to supplement lectures.
  4. Audio-visual aids will be used where appropriate.
Course Description
This course provides an introduction to the physical, chemical and optical properties of minerals. Crystals, their symmetry and classification, will be discussed. The occurrence and classification of rock forming and economic minerals will be discussed.
Course Content


  1. External Symmetry
  • Symmetry operations
  • Combination of symmetry elements
  • Derivation of the 32 crystal classes
  • Crystallographic axes
  • Crystal systems
  • Translational Symmetry
    • Crystal lattices
    • Screw axes and glide planes
    • Space group

    Optical Mineralogy

    1. Nature of light
    2. Colour in minerals
    3. The petrographic microscope
    4. Optical properties of minerals

    Determinative Mineralogy

    1. Silicates
    2. Sulphides
    3. Oxides
    4. Carbonates
    5. Other mineral groups
    Learning Outcomes

    After successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

    1. Identify the point group symmetry of a variety of crystals and crystal models.
    2. Classify given crystal models into crystal classes and systems.
    3. Explain the principles of translational symmetry and the chemical criteria governing the variation of crystal structure.
    4. Show an understanding of the various physical and chemical techniques used to identify minerals.
    5. Identify a wide variety of rock forming and economically important minerals.
    6. Explain the most important chemical and structural characteristics of the major sulfide, silicate, carbonate and oxide minerals.
    7. Show an understanding of the use and care of a petrographic microscope and accessories.
    8. Show an understanding of the optical properties exhibited by common rock forming minerals.
    9. Determine the optical characteristics of a variety of minerals.
    10. Identify a selection of common rock forming minerals in their section.
    Means of Assessment

    The evaluation for this course will consist of four in-class tests plus a final examination. Tests will have both a theoretical and laboratory component.

    Test 1 Crystallography 10%
    Test 2 Optical Mineralogy 10%
    Test 3 Determinative Mineralogy Silicates 25%
    Test 4 Determinative Mineralogy: Sulphides, Oxides, Carbonates  25%
    Final Comprehensive Examination 30%


    Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

    Klein, C. & C. Hurlbut, Jr. Manual of Mineralogy, 20th Ed. John Wiley & Sons, 1985.


    GEOL/GEOG 1120 OR GEOL 1121 or instructor permission


    CHEM 1110 or instructor permission