cod. 00799

Academic year 2021/22
3° year of course - Second semester
- Alessandra MONTANINI
Academic discipline
Petrologia e petrografia (GEO/07)
Discipline di scienze della terra
Type of training activity
60 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The aim of the course is twofold:

1- acquisition of knowledge concerning the main petrogenetic processes (magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary) in the different geodynamic settings.

2- to provide the basis for rock identification on the basis of their structural and textural features and mineral associations (examination of hand samples and rock thin sections under polarized light microscope)

During the Covid-19 emergency, the objective 2- was pursued through the use of online photographic atlases and virtual simulators of petrographic microscope


Basic knowledge of mineralogy

Course unit content

The course aims to provide the main knowledge related to rock formation processes. Methods and procedures for the study of rocks and their mineralogical constituents will also be illustrated both on the basis of the macroscopic sample and in thin section.

Full programme

1. Definition and introduction to the main rock formation processes. The rock cycle. Geothermal and pressure gradient. Causes and mechanisms of melting (mantle and crust).

2. Magmatic rocks: chemical and physical characteristics of magmas, crystallization and evolution of magmas, binary phase diagrams representative of simplified magmatic systems; magmatic series and geodynamic environments. Classification and nomenclature of igneous rocks based on structural and textural characteristics, constituent minerals and chemical composition. Volcanic processes, types of eruptions and volcanic products.

3. Metamorphic rocks: definition and environmental conditions of metamorphism, metamorphic grade, metamorphic facies, fluids and metamorphism. Minerals and metamorphic structures, nomenclature and classification of metamorphic rocks.

4. Sedimentary rocks: degradation of pre-existing rocks, transport, sorting and deposition of sediments. Compaction and lithification of sediments. Composition, structures and textures of sedimentary rocks and their classification.

5. Principles of crystallographic optics and optical mineralogy: petrographic microscope, orthoscopic and conoscopic observations. Identification of the main rock-forming minerals (hand sample and thin section under the microscope). Microstructures of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks in thin section. Identification and classification of the main igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks (hand sample and thin section under the microscope)


Slides, exercises and links to web sites will be available to download by the students on the web platform “Elly”. Materials could be updated during the Course.


KLEIN C., PHILPOTTS A.R. Mineralogia e petrografia (edizione italiana condotta sulla seconda edizione inglese, a cura di GASPAROTTO G. e BRAGA R.)- Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna

D'ARGENIO B., INNOCENTI F., SASSI F.P. - Introduzione allo studio delle rocce. Ed. UTET, Torino

DEER W.A., HOWIE R.A., ZUSSMAN J. - Introduzione ai minerali che costituiscono le rocce. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna

MACKENZIE W.S., GUILFORD C. - Atlante dei minerali costituenti le rocce in sezione sottile. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna

MACKENZIE W.S., DONALDSON C.H., GUILFORD C. - Atlante delle rocce magmatiche e delle loro tessiture. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna

YARDLEY B.W.D., MACKENZIE W.S., GUILFORD C. - Atlante delle rocce metamorfiche e delle loro microstrutture. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna

ADAMS A.E., MACKENZIE W.S., GUILFORD C. - Atlante delle rocce sedimentarie al microscopio. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna

Teaching methods

Lectures made using multimedia tools and laboratory

Slide provided during classes will be weekly available to download on Elly platform. To download the slides, students need to be registered on-line to the Course. Please note that the slides are not a substitute for lessons or of the Textbooks but are considered part of the accompanying instructional materials. Students should frequently control instructional materials and other information provided by the Teacher on the Elly web site.

Assessment methods and criteria

The method of verifying learning may be different based on the progress of the Covid 19 emergency. Therefore two possible methods are envisaged.


In both cases, the assessment of learning will take place through a single final test via oral exam during which the questions addressed to the student will have the following objectives (i) verify the student's ability to deal with the study of minerals and rocks in thin section under the microscope by referring to the methodological principles and knowledge acquired during the course (maximum score: 15, minimum score 9); (ii) verify the knowledge relating to the main petrogenetic processes(maximum score: 15, minimum score 9). Particular attention (iii) will be paid to the student's ability to carry out cross-links between the various topics covered during the course and to explain the concepts with clarity and appropriate language.

The exam is passed with a minimum score of 18 points. The maximum score is 30. Laude is obtained if the student has demonstrated particular skills relating to point (iii).

Other information

Information on the aim and content of the course (see above and below) are associated with the relative "Dublin Indicators" (DI) that characterize their purposes. Dublin Indicators:

- Knowledge and understanding; - Applying knowledge and understanding;
- Making judgements;
- Communication skills;
- Learning skills.