Module Information

Module Identifier
EA12520
Module Title
An introduction to Earth Materials
Academic Year
2017/2018
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Practical 11 x 2 Hour Practicals
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Semester 1 exam  Short answer/practically-based examination in laboratory (e.g. C4 Llandinam   50%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Semester 2 exam  Short answer/practically-based examination in laboratory (e.g. C4 Llandinam   50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   Supplementary exam - 1  Short answer/practically-based examination in laboratory (e.g. C4 Llandinam   50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   Supplementary exam - 2  Short answer/practically-based examination in laboratory (e.g. C4 Llandinam   50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Describe the more common minerals and rocks

2. Outline the principles of rock and mineral classification

3. Demonstrate the ability to use both a hand-lens and a petrological microscope

4. Systematically record and describe rocks and minerals

Brief description

This module introduces minerals as the building blocks of all rocks and also as the source for many raw/industrial materials. The module will start with a description of the major groups of minerals and provide practical experience in describing, identifying and classifying them in hand specimen. The module will introduce the petrological microscope – a device that is used to study thin sections of rocks and minerals. The ‘Rock Cycle’ will be used to demonstrate the links between the three major rock groups: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Each of these rock groups will be described in order and they will be studied in both hand specimens and thin sections in the practical component of the course. The overall aim of this module is to provide you with the skills necessary to identify the main types of rocks found at the Earth’s surface and to allow you to produce a systematic description and classification of these rocks.

Content

Lecture course:
Mineralogy – the structure and chemistry of minerals, their key physical properties and their classification. The basics of optical mineralogy.

Igneous rocks – the range of different igneous rocks and their interrelationships. The classification of igneous rocks. The link between the chemistry and mineralogy of these rocks and their physical behaviour.

Sedimentary rocks – the origin of sedimentary material through processes of weathering, transport and erosion. The range of sedimentary rock types, their mineralogy and interrelationships.

Metamorphic rocks – the controls on metamorphism. The range of metamorphic minerals and rocks. Contact and regional metamorphism.

Practical course: This will run in parallel with the lecture course.
Mineralogy – the course will develop ‘key’ to help students to identify hand specimens of the major mineral groups using physical properties. The optical properties of the major rock-forming minerals will be introduced with the aim of producing a ‘key’ to allow these minerals to be identified in thin sections.

Igneous rocks – Hand specimens of common igneous rocks will be described with the aim of providing the skills required to produce a systematic description of these rocks. The practicals will go on to study a range of more common igneous rock types in thin section.

Sedimentary rocks – Hand specimens of common sedimentary rocks will be studied and described. The interrelationship between related types of rocks will be studied with the aim of producing logs of sedimentary sequences. Thin sections of selected, common, sedimentary rock-types will be studied in thin section.

Metamorphic rocks – Hand specimens of the common metamorphic rocks will be studied and described. Thin sections of selected, common, metamorphic rock-types will be studied in thin section.

Throughout the practical course the rocks being studied will be linked to the geological map of Great Britain to help to place the material into a regional context.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number The classification of rocks is often based on mineral proportions or percentages. These data are often represented graphically using triangular diagrams. Thus the students will be introduced to modal analysis and will develop skills in normalization and graphical representation of quantitative data.
Communication Practical classes are inherently interactive, and students will be encouraged to communicate with each other through specific small group exercises. The module is designed to allow a high number of contact hours between staff and students to ensure development of strong communication, and ample opportunities for one-to-one and group discussions.
Improving own Learning and Performance Using ‘follow-up’ practical exercises in which formative training is provided in the structured practicals will allow students to develop their skills in a structured and incremental fashion. Students will be encouraged to make use of the practical laboratories outside timetabled slots and then be given feedback on these independent exercises in the following taught practical session. This incremental approach to skill development will allow students to monitor their own learning and the formative feedback will provide students with the opportunity to measure their performance improvements.
Information Technology Students will be expected to use information technology to aid further reading.
Personal Development and Career planning Upon successful completion of this module students will have developed a range of practical skills integral to any earth science/geology career path. They will develop basic mineral and rock classification skills. The students will develop skills in systematically recording observational data and the use of ‘industry standard’ classification schemes.
Problem solving This module will develop a series of skills to enable students to identify various minerals and rock types. The module will develop skills in systematically recording observations and classification information. The module is designed to build these skills incrementally, in turn introducing minerals as the building blocks of rocks as well as the source of economic deposits. The module will combine the theoretical basis of classification and then apply this theory to examples. As the module introduces each of the major rock groups in turn the students’ problem solving skills will be developed incrementally using a variety of examples.
Research skills The students will be introduced to new topics which will require additional research. Specific ‘further information’ questions will be set within each practical class to encourage use of research and information literacy skills.
Subject Specific Skills The students will develop their own laboratory notebook with keys and identification charts which will be used in later modules. The ability to identify, descried and classify Earth Materials is a fundamental skill for all Earth Scientists
Team work Students will typically work in small groups within the practical classes. Specific exercises will be introduced to encourage short sessions of group work. These will provide the opportunity for students to develop team working skills.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 4