cod. 1005894

Academic year 2019/20
3° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Mineralogia (GEO/06)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

Learn the basics about minerals and environment, identify the most suitable techniques to analyse real case studies.


Basic mineralogy and chemistry

Course unit content

The course will introduce the fundamental concepts of the mineralogy and their relationship with environmental and anthropogenic processes.
Several case-studies on asbestos minerals, waste from incinerator processes, technological and synthetic minerals, man-made artefact, air pollution particle will illustrate the complexity of the environmental mineralogy.

Full programme

Introduction to the topics of the course. Review of systematic mineralogy: native elements, sulfides, oxides and hydroxides, carbonates, sulfates, phosphates.
Silicates (neso, soro, ciclo, ino, fillo, tecto). Definition of solid solution, polyhedron of coordination, phase diagrams.


Asbestos: legislation, natural sources of asbestos, chemical-physical characteristics of asbestos minerals. Uses of asbestos in the past. Concept of natural and anthropic exposure.
Disposal and italian regulations. Use of green stones. Analysis techniques of asbestos: MOCF, XRD, TEM, SEM-EDS. Real cases of suspected asbestos presence: procedures.

Mineral powders
Case studies of fibrous minerals potential dangerous for health: the cases of Biancavilla (CT) and Karain (Cappadocia). Issues related to the use and exposure of mineral powders: crystalline and amorphous silica. Environmental and work esposure: the extraction and processing of siliceous rocks. Fine particle analysis techniques (nanometers): transmission electron microscope

Minerals in incinerator slag

Definitions and outlines of waste legislation. Analysis of municipal and special waste. Types of incinerators and waste-to-energy plants. Waste treatment process. Slag analysis: practical examples. Current re-use and future works.

Nomenclature, crystal chemistry and framework. Properties: absorption, molecular sieving, cation exchange, reversible dehydration, catalytic properties. Analysis of zeolites.
Natural genesis and laboratory synthesis. Natural zeolites in Italy. Applications. .

Atmospheric particulate matter

Definition and discussion of atmospheric pollution. Causes of air pollution. Air quality in the world and in Italy. Air pollutants and current legislation. Air sampling methods. PM10. Routine and experimental analysis techniques

Minerals in cultural heritage (4 hours)

1) natural ornamental stone materials: uses, petrographic and commercial name, regulations, characteristics, import and export
2) gems: definition, characteristics, natural and synthetic gems, history of the use of gems
3) ceramics: definition, history, production techniques, archaeological ceramics, traditional, advanced and bioceramic ceramic materials, clayey raw materials.
4) glass: glass chemistry, history of use, analysis techniques
5) metallic materials and alloys: characteristics, use in history, extraction of metals, production techniques.
6) natural and artificial pigments: examples and case studies, identification of pigments, fresco technique, colors in history.

Bioleaching and waste management

Mining georesources - outlines

mineral resources, native elements and metals. Poor, abundant and precious metals, PTE, REE. Environmental impact from mining activity. Essential elements and toxic elements for humans.

Analysis techniques

Analysis 1. Stereomicroscope, optical microscope, scanning electron microscope with microanalysis. Examples of use of the SEM-EDS. Case studies taken from scientific papers.

Analysis 2: powder X-ray diffraction, diffraction theory, operation and use of the diffractometer. Review of crystal lattices. Examples in the laboratory: identification of Al2O3 mineral. Limitations and advantages of the method.

Light-matter interaction: absorption, reflection and refraction. Color in minerals.
spectroscopic techniques. Spectroscopic techniques: UV-VIS, Raman, IR. Theory and examples of mineralogical phase recognition.

Atmospheric particulate investigation techniques: PM10 control units and filter weighing. Examples of SEM and TEM analysis. Magnetic analysis for the study of magnetic minerals on two filters and on leaves as bioindicators. Magnetism, IRM, SIRM, magnetic susceptibility. Case studies of environmental biomagnetism.

Practical examples of bibliographic research.


PPT presentation posted on Elly

Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings):

Environmental Mineralogy, 2000/2012, Eds. David J. Vaughn and Roy A. Wogelius. EMU Notes in Mineralogy, 2. Eotvos University Press, Budapest.

Mineralogia, 2004, di Cornelis Klein, ed. Zanichelli

Teaching methods

Lectures by the teacher, specific seminars by invited lecturers, exercises on the interpretation of data from SEM-EDS, XRD, Raman spectroscopy and other techniques

Assessment methods and criteria

personal discussion on selected topic

Other information

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