The aim of the course is to generate the essential knowledge for a suitable learning of all the disciplines related to the Earth Sciences. Minerals are, in fact, fundamental components of the rocks, which, in turn, are derived from particular geological processes, each with its own evolution. Knowing structure, symmetry and chemical composition of minerals means understanding in a deeper way the processes in earth science.
The students will be able, from the practical point of view, to recognize massive minerals and their crystal system. From the theoretical point of view, they will know the main families (silicates and non-silicates) of rock-forming minerals.
1) crystal chemistry: chemical composition of earth crust, atoms and ions, ionic radii, oxidation numbers, close packing (cubic and hexagonal), Pauling's rules, type-structures. Solid solutions. Colour in minerals and the basics of gemmology. 2) crystallography: symmetry elements without traslation and their combination (the 32 point groups). Symmetry elements characteristics of the six crystal systems. Miller indexes, Definition of crystal form and crystal habit. Geminates. Traslations and lattice, basics. 3) Analytical techniques: chemical analysis (atomic absorption spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, electron microprobe), X-ray powder diffraction, polarised light microscope. 4) Systematic mineralogy: silicates and non-silicates rock-forming minerals.