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Classroom, Lab and Field Activities

This collection of teaching materials has been contributed by geoscience faculty. Do you have a favorite lab, demonstration or activity? If so, please consider sharing it with the larger community.


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Properties of Minerals and Intro to Polarizing Microscopes part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise continues the study of the physical properties of minerals and introduces petrographic microscopes.

Private Mineral Project - Part 1 part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students begin to work on semester-long private mineral projects.

Mafic Mineral Properties and Thin Sections part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Students look at mafic igneous minerals, learning to distinguish and identify them in hand specimen. They also look at a few of the minerals in thin section.

A Last Look at Igneous Minerals in Thin Section part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
A final lab exercise that uses the optical mineralogy skills learned in the previous labs, and begins the transition to petrographic analysis of thin sections.

Sedimentary and Related Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to sedimentary minerals and rocks.

Synthetic Alkali Halides part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a complex experimental investigation of the melting of alkali halides. This project takes more than one class and involves using an X-ray diffractometer.

Fun With Asbestos part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is a practical application of optical mineralogy involving identification of some asbestiform minerals.

X-ray Analysis of Sand part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an x-ray diffraction analysis of six sand samples and comparison with hand specimens.

Metamorphic Rocks and Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This exercise is an introduction to the most important metamorphic rocks and minerals.

Phase Equilibria part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a short exercise that introduces basic thermodynamics.

Ore Minerals part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
Introduction to sulfides and other ore minerals.

Experiments in Crystal Optics part of Activities
Hans Dieter Zimmermann
The purpose of the experiments below is to impart an intuitive understanding of the interaction between light and crystals and, thus, of optical crystallography. This will help to demystify what is seen in the ...

Experiments on Simple Binary Mineral Systems part of Activities
John Winter, Whitman College
This exercise is devised to simulate a series of experimental runs in which binary mineral mixtures are melted using very high-temperature furnaces in order to determine the characteristics of mineral systems and ...

Minerals and Light part of Activities
Edward F. Stoddard
Optical Mineralogy and thin sections just blew me away when I first was exposed to them. (Of course that was the psychedelic 60's!) Because of my experience, I've always thought that we might attract a ...

Growing Crystals on a Microscope Stage part of Activities
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus;
Many compounds crystallize rapidly from evaporating solutions, and many can be crystallized from melts. Because of this, it is possible to do simple crystallization experiments and to watch crystals grow over short ...