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Minerals and the crystalline state
Minerals and the crystalline state

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Minerals and the crystalline state


Rocks are made of minerals and, as minerals are natural crystals, the geological world is mostly a crystalline world. Many large-scale geological processes, such as the movement of continents and the metamorphism of large volumes of rock during mountain building, represent the culmination of microscopic processes occurring inside minerals.

Minerals and rocks are also natural resources that provide the inorganic raw materials for almost everything humans use. A good scientific understanding of their origins, occurrence and properties helps to maximise their potential benefits to humanity.

In this free course, you will study mineral and rock (and fossil) specimens as interactive images in a resource called the Digital Geology Kit, which is described briefly in the box below and then in more detail in a subsequent activity.

Accessing the Digital Geology Kit

The Digital Geology Kit is one of a number of interactive, practical science resources that you can access from The OpenScience Laboratory [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] website: a collaborative initiative of The Open University and The Wolfson Foundation. Here you will find investigations, tools and activities coving a broad range of scientific fields, including Earth science, astronomy and health.

Links to the Digital Geology Kit appear at relevant points within this course. When you first access the tool you will be prompted to either sign in (if you are already an Open University student), or to register with you email address to create an account free of charge. This only takes a few minutes to do.

Note that the interactive activities on the OpenScience Laboratory website require a modern web browser, such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari or Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 or later.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course S209 Earth science.