Mineral and rock analysis
cod. 1007738

Academic year 2018/19
3° year of course - Second semester
MELI Sandro
Academic discipline
Petrologia e petrografia (GEO/07)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The first part of the course points to the Dublin Descriptor n° 1: Yield clear and precise definitions and concepts in analytical therminology, both in Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Phisics, giving also hints to understand more complec concepts. The main body of the course is focused on the Dublin Descriptor n° 2: knowledge and applied abilities: explaining the fundamental techniques employed in the petrology and geochemistry field of earth sciences, highlighting specifically those usually employed in igneous and metamorphic processes. Analyitical errors and their implications on the foregoing petrological modeling. Older and newer techniques will be presented, with a special focus on the perfomed improvements. A brief overview of analytical techniques applied in forensic geology


Knowledge of the base concepts of inorganic chemistry and general mineralogy; systematic mineralogy as for silicates and oxides normally occurring in rocks. Knowledge of the employment of the optical transmitted light mineralogy microscope. Basic knowledge on physics, as for electromagnetic waves. Knowledge of the basis of the inorganic chemistry.

Course unit content

1. Scientific therminology
2. sampling
3. rock samples handling
4. mineral separation
5. Analysis of volatile components
6. analysis of elements which occur in different redox state
7. X-rays
8. X-ray diffraction
9. Diffraction techniques
10. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry
11. outlines on handable XRF spectrometer
12. outlines on microfluorescenze spectrometry
13. Point analyses (Electron Probe MicroAnalysis, Scanning Electron Microscope equipe with EDS detector)
14. Outlines about high Energy techinques (PIXE, micro-PIXE, XANES, XRD with “sycntrothron light”
15. otptical microscope equipe with ultraviolet source

Full programme

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Armigliato A. & Valdrè U. (1982): Microscopia elettronica a scansione e microanalisi – parte I. Università degli Studi di Bologna, 411 pp. Of interest: capp. 1, 2, 3.
Armigliato A. & Valdrè U. (1982): Microscopia elettronica a scansione e microanalisi – parte II. Università degli Studi di Bologna, 356 pp. Of interest: capp. 1, 2, 3.
Bonissoni G. (1977): introduzione alla spettrometria dei raggi X di fluorescenza. ETAS Libri, 245 pp. Of interest: capp. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Currie L.A. (1995): Nomenclature in evaluation of analytical methods including detection and quantification limits. Pure & Appl. Chem., 67(10): 1699-1723.
Hutchinson C.S. (1974): laboratory handbook of petrographic techniques. Wiley, 527 pp.
Horwitz W. (1990): Nomenclature for sampling in analytical chemistry. Pure & Appl. Chem., 62(6): 1193-1208.
Potts P.J. (1992) A Handbook of silicate rock analysis. Springer, 622 pp. Of interest: capp. 1, 2, 10, 11, 20.
Potts P.J. (1997): A glossary of terms and definitions used in analytical chemistry. Geostandard Newsletters, 21(1): 157-161.
Salvioli Mariani E. (2005): microscopia elettronica a scansione e microanalisi. Notes from lectures.
AA.VV.: Intensità delle radiazioni X diffratte. Appunti dalle lezioni (Roma).
XRF portatile applicata a superfici policrome. Nardini editore, 161 pp. Of interest: part I.
Seccaroni C. & Moioli P. (2002): Fluorescenza X – prontuario per l’analisi
Droop. G.T.R. (1987): A general equation for estimating Fe3+ concentrations in ferromagnesian silicates and oxides from microprobe analyses, using stoichiometric criteria. Mineralogical Magazine, 51: 431-435.

Teaching methods

Lectures will be yielded alternating, as often as possible, theoretical lectures in the classrooms and laboratory lectures, together with specific seminars. In the first part of the course, the theoretical topics will prevail on the laboratory lectures, but on the way these last will be progressively intensified, in a way to make easier to the students to undertand and keep the basic concepts of the techniques, and to go deep in some topic with the help of specialized technicians. Slides of the lectures will be available on the personal website of the professor, at the end of each topic.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam, thought in a way to perform all the Dublin descriptors. descriptor n° 4: communication skills. Dealing with an oral exam, this goal is clearly performed. Dublin descriptor n° 1: the exam always starts with a question on fundamental definitions in analyitical chemistry, in petrology and in geochemistry. Later on, the second question is about a complex technique (Dublin descriptor n° 2). All the esams will end with a more complex question, asking a student to choose one or more techniques to solve a petrological or geochemical problem (Dublin descriptors n° 3 and 5). The praise will be given to those student who demonstrate ability of facing with petrological and geochemical problems going a bit forward respect to the concepts explained during the course.

Other information

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