Geology 311 - Mineralogy and Optics

Welcome to Geology 31-   Mineralogy and Optics!
We hope that you will enjoy the course.
We have created this web page to help you to get the most out of the course. We will
keep it updated so you should visit this page on a regular basis!
Let's work together for a fun and informative semester!



The syllabus is very detailed.  We have divided the information in different pages for a better organization.
Please, use the available links to explore all the information.  You can contact us if you need a clarification
or any additional information:
                                Inci Evren Ertan:  e-mail    office phone    address    web page
                                Andreas Luttge:   e-mail    office phone    address    web page
We are usually available during the semester, but always on Tuesdays between 9 - 10 a.m.
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Brief Description and Main Goals:

In the first part of this course you will learn about minerals and their identification.  Minerals are the
basic building blocks of geological materials.  Classification, occurrence, crystal structure, physical proper-
ties, chemistry, economical importance and use of the common minerals will be discussed.  Weekly labo-
ratories will teach students how to identify and describe a wide range of minerals.
    The course is divided into two parts.  The first part of the course is taught by Andreas Luttge and will
examine the different types of minerals with a strong focus on the most important rockforming minerals.
Unlike many other courses we will start with silicates.
    The second part of the course taught by Inci Ertan will.  Understanding mineralogy, identification of
minerals, their associations, stability means understanding geological processes.  Optical mineralogy
teaches the elementary concepts of light, refraction of light, polarizing microscope as a tool to identify
the minerals.  Although rock-forming minerals (silicates) will be emphasized students will be able to identify
any unknown mineral at the end of this section.
    Among the requirements of the course are (1) attendance of both lecture and lab, (2) keeping up with
the reading, (3) participation in class, and (4) class projects outside the lab.  XX% of your final grade in
this class will be based on the above requirements.
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Textbooks and References:

Manual of Mineralogy, by Cornelis Klein and Cornelius S. Hurlbut, Jr. (John Wiley & Sons, New York,
revised 21st edition), and
Lab Manual, Minerals and Rocks, by Cornelis Klein (John Wiley & Sons, New York).
Introduction to Optical Mineralogy, by W.D. Nesse

Recommended Reference Books:
Introduction to the Rock Forming Minerals, by Deer, Howie, and Zussman ( )
Atlas of Rock Forming Minerals in Thin Sections, by MacKenzie and Guilford ( )
Optical Determination of Rock-forming Minerals (Part I - Determinative Tables), by W.E. Troeger

Other Reference Books:
Mineralogy Concepts and Principles, by Zoltai and Stout ( )
Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry, by Bloss
Many other books can be helpful, see collection kept in Geol 307 lab, but, please, do not remove these!

Additional readings and handouts will be periodically assigned during the course.

The use of the text and any supplemental reading is critical.  We suggest doing the reading as follows:
before the first lecture of the week, skim the reading, noting the main subjects of the chapter. Periodically,
read a section in more detail.  Later in the week, say Thursday or Friday, go back and reread the assign-
ment again in detail.  Hopefully, by then the reading will be easy and sound familiar, because we will have
discussed during the week.
    Each week there will be a short quiz during the mineralogy part of the class.  The quiz will cover the
reading for the week. They will be short and not require extensive calculations.  I will talk more about the
format and timing of the quizzes during the first week of class.

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Personal Equipment Needed:

Students are required to bring a hand lens (10x), pocket knife or steel nail, and a small pocket type magnet
(optional), and 4 x 6" index cards to all labs.
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You can expect us to: We expect you to: What you get out of the course, including the grade you earn, will depend on what you put into the course.
Let's work together for a fun and informative semester!
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A breakdown of the grading of the course is:

    Lab and problem sets..........................................%
    Participation, etc. ................................................%


Mineralogy (Andreas Luttge / Mikala Beig):
Lab is scheduled for three hours on XXXX afternoon.  We will use some of these sessions for traditional
lab-type demonstrations and experiments.  Other lab sessions will be spent learning and using computer
based lessons.  We will have to split the class into smaller groups for some projects.  I'll announce this well
in advance.
    Exercises assigned in class and lab will have specific dates when they are due.  Advance permission from
me is required if you want to turn an exercise in after the due date.  I will try to turn exercises back to you
the following week.

Optics  (Inci Evren Ertan / Saijin Huang):

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Occasional problems will be assigned to provide practice and insight into the types of questions you will
find on exams.  These must be turned in and will be graded on a +/- basis.  Any questions you have con-
cerning the homework problems should be addressed during the first 5-10 minutes of class.  The "+" grades
will be counted for extra credit.
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Student Project:

A review of a selected (or assigned) mineral, mineral group, or other suitable topic will be prepared in
professional written format (see schedule).
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Teaching Assistants:

We are fortunate to have Mikala Beig and Saijin Huang as our T.A.'s for the course.
Mikala [] and Saijin [     ] will be available both during and outside
the lab for questions about any of the lecture or laboratory material.  They will also help students on their
    There are other interesting projects that I have planned for the semester that I will spring on you at the
appropriate times.
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Disability Accommodations:

Any student with a disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is encouraged to speak
with us during the first two weeks of class (after class or during office hours).  All discussions will remain
confidential.  Students with disabilities should also contact with the Disabled Student Services in the Ley
Student Center [Jean Ashmore, Director of Services for Disabled Students PHONE (713) 737-5841;
FAX (713) 285-5199; e-mail:;].
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There are three exams in this course (Mineralogy and Optics); two during the semester and one during
finals week.  Collectively they make up XX% of your final grade in the course [breakdown of the grading].
The exams are scheduled for the XXXXth and XXXXth week of the semester, and we will announce the
place, time, and format closer to the date of the exams.  The final exam may be cumulative - this will be
announced well in advance.  All exams must be taken at the time and place that we have planned unless you
make arrangements with us/me at least two weeks in advance.
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Mineralogy (Andreas Luttge)
Week  1
Introduction; Nucleation, Growth, and Dissolution of Minerals

Week  2
Crystallography: External Form, Internal Order and Symmetry

Week  3
Crystal Chemistry

Week  4
Minerals and Their Physical Properties

Week  5
Systematic Mineralogy: Silicates

Week  6
Systematic Mineralogy: Silicates, Carbonates

Week  7
Systematic Mineralogy: Native Elements, Sulfides, Oxides and Hydroxides,
                                    Halides, Sulfates,

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Optics (Inci Evren Ertan)


Lecture Schedule

GEOLOGY 311 PART II Dr. Inci Evren Ertan

Fall 1999 (Geol 303J;

Oct. 21 PART II: Introduction to Optical Mineralogy: Elementary concepts of light, nature of light, polarized light, wave motions

Oct. 26 Refraction of light, index of refraction, Snell’s Law, refractometry of isotropic materials

Oct. 28 Optical Indicatrix: Isotropic and Anisotropic media

Nov. 2 Birefringence, anisotropism and uniaxial indicatrix

Nov. 4 Interference of light: Optical examination of uniaxial crystals and interference figures

Nov.9 Biaxial crystals, biaxial indicatrix theory

Nov. 11 Optical examination of biaxial crystals : Biaxial interference figures, 2V and dispersion

Nov. 16 Optics Exam I (isotropic and anisotropic media, uniaxial theory)

Nov. 19 Other optical properties of crystals: color, pleochroism, extinction angles, elongation sign

Nov. 23 Thin section determinations of Rock-Forming Minerals: Quartz, Feldspars and Feldspatoids

Nov. 26 THANKSGIVING holidays :-)

Nov. 30 Olivine-, Pyroxene- and Amphibole-groups

Dec.2 Micas and accessory minerals, review and finish-up

Dec. 7 Optics Exam II (biaxial theory and rock-forming minerals)




Laboratory Schedule


GEOLOGY 311 PART II Dr. Inci Evren Ertan

Fall 1999 (Geol 303J;

Saijin Huang

(Geol 306E;


Oct. 21 Polarizing microscope, refractive indices measurement of isotropic knowns, Becke lines, dispersion

Oct. 28 Identification of isotropic unknowns; birefringence and priviledged directions, interference colors, fast and slow directions (quiz on microscope parts)

Nov. 4 Uniaxial interference figures, optic sign determination, identification of uniaxial unknowns

Nov. 11 Biaxial interference figures, optical sign, 2V measurements, absorption and pleochroism, extiction angle measurements

Nov.19 Thin section determination of unknowns; optical properties, orientation of minerals, textures of rock-forming minerals (quiz on optical orientation of crystals)

Nov. 26 THANKSGIVING holidays :-)

Dec.2 Determination of unknowns in thin section

Final Optical Mineral ID Exam (take home due on Dec.14)



Textbooks and References:

C. Klein and C.S. Hurlbut: Manual of Mineralogy

C. Klein: Lab Manual, Minerals and Rocks

W.D. Nesse: Introduction to Optical Mineralogy

Deer, Howie, and Zussman: Introduction to the Rock Forming Minerals

MacKenzie and Guilford: Atlas of Rock Forming Minerals in Thin Section

W.E. Troeger: Optical Determination of Rock-forming Minerals (Part I - Determinative Tables)

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