Free course

An introduction to minerals and rocks under the microscope

Free statement of participation on completion

In this free course, An introduction to minerals and rocks under the microscope, you will experience the study of minerals using a polarising microscope. While the study of minerals can involve electron or ion beam chemical analysis, the polarising microscope remains the prime tool for the study of rock thin sections and is the foundation of learning to recognise, characterise and identify rocks.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the facts, concepts, principles, theories, classification systems and language associated with minerals and rocks
  • use the essential terms, concepts and strategies of mineralogy
  • apply knowledge and understanding of the study of rock thin sections using a polarising microscope
  • work with and recognise a variety of minerals and microtextures in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks
  • make systematic descriptions and identifications of minerals in rocks, observing them using images of thin sections viewed under a polarising microscope, and deduce how and in what environments the minerals and rocks were formed.

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Course content