Syllabus in PDF format

GEOLOGY 420 / 620 -- MINERALOGY 2011

Department of Geosciences, North Dakota State University


course information and tentative schedule

Revision Aug 8, 2011


Time:                             Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 am — 10:45

Instructor:                   B. Saini-Eidukat, office 127 Stevens Hall, ext. 1-8785


Office hours:               Tuesday, 2:00 – 4:00 pm or by appointment

Text:                              C. Klein and B. Dutrow, Manual of Mineral Science, 23rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons; [enrichment: T. Zoltai and J. Stout (Z&S), Mineralogy: Concepts and Principles (copies available in 134 Stevens)]

Required Material:     10x or greater magnification loupe (hand lens)

Web Site:            


This course provides an introduction to mineralogy. The prerequisites are Chemistry 121 or 150. We will examine minerals from crystallographic, chemical, physical and thermodynamic points of view. We will learn how to identify and classify minerals, and how to measure their properties using morphology, X-ray diffraction, and optical microscopy. We will learn from a combination of lectures, in-class exercises and discussion, guest speakers, homework assignments, term papers and field experiences.


course schedule:


Aug. 23     [T]     Introduction; Physical Properties of Minerals

Aug. 25     [R]     Symmetry Operations, Crystal Systems, Bravais Lattices


Crystallography and X-Ray Diffraction Methods in Mineralogy

Aug. 30     [T]     Crystal Morphology, Principal Directions, Point Groups

Sep. 1       [R]     Stereographic Projection, Cubic Point Groups

Sep. 6       [T]     Miller Indices; Crystal Forms

Sep. 8       [R]     Translational Symmetry; Plane Groups; Space Groups

Sep. 13     [T]     Black Hills Field Course

Sep. 15     [R]     Black Hills Field Course

Sep. 20     [T]     Elements of X-Ray Diffraction

Sep. 22     [R]     X-Ray Diffraction

Sep. 27     [T]     Exam 1


Crystal and Mineral Chemistry

Sep. 29     [R]     Bonding; Coordination

Oct. 4       [T]     Chemical Compositions of Minerals, Analytical Techniques

Oct. 6       [R]     Compatibility Diagrams; Mineral Recalculation

Oct. 11     [T]     Geological Society of America Meeting (Minneapolis)

Oct. 13     [R]     Graphical Representation; Substitution


Systematic Mineralogy

Oct. 18     [T]     Non-silicates; Economic Mineralogy

Oct. 20     [R]     Non-silicates


Oct. 25     [T]     Exam 2

Oct. 27     [R]     Intro to Silicate Mineralogy; Nesosilicates


Nov. 1      [T]     Sorosilicates, Cyclosilicates

Nov. 3      [R]     Inosilicates - single chain

Nov. 8      [T]     Inosilicates - double chain; asbestos

Nov. 10     [R]     Phyllosilicates

Nov. 15     [T]     Clay Mineralogy

Nov. 17     [R]     Exam 3

Nov. 22     [T]     Tectosilicates; Silica Minerals

Nov. 24     [R]     No Class - Thanksgiving Day Holiday

Nov. 29     [T]     Feldspathoids; Feldspars; literature report due

Dec. 1      [R]     Feldspars

Dec. 6      [T]     Zeolites

Dec. 8      [R]     Review

(Schedule and Exam dates subject to change)


FINAL EXAM       Wed, Dec. 14, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


Intended Student Outcomes:

¥ To be able to identify common rock forming minerals

¥ To understand the Earth processes that form minerals

¥ To understand chemical, physical, and crystallographic properties of minerals

¥ To understand mineral classification schemes

¥ To be familiar with analytical tools such as X-ray diffraction and electron microprobe analysis


Examinations and Grading:

Grading will be based on four exams (short answer, problem solving), several quizzes, a few homework assignments, a field trip, and a short literature report.  Graduate students will be required to submit a 10-page paper based on a short independent research project.


                        Exams 1-3                                                 50%

                        Final exam                                                20%

                        Quizzes, homework, field trip                  20%

                        Literature report                                      10%


The final letter grade will be assigned based on the following table, unless the class average deviates significantly from 75%. In the latter case, a "curve" will be applied.

A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70 - 79; D = 60-69; F = <60

"Borderline" cases will be judged individually, based on grade improvement, demonstrated effort, class participation, etc.


Special Needs: Students who need special accommodations for learning or who have special needs are invited to share these concerns or requests with the instructor as soon as possible.


Academic Responsibility: All work in this course must be completed in a manner consistent with NDSU University University Senate Policy, Section 335: Code of Academic Responsibility and Conduct (

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B. Saini-Eidukat
Geology 420/620