Wendy Panero

Ohio State University
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


All scientists, industrialists, economists, environmentalists need to know something about mineralogy and mineral occurrences on Earth. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and meteorites consist mainly of minerals. Therefore, minerals and assemblages of minerals are a major source of information about processes in our solar system. In addition, mineral resources are the basis for many raw commodities and national economies, and minerals and their interactions with the environment are controlling factors in chemistry of waters and the atmosphere. It is for these reasons that mineralogy is a foundation course for a geology degree.

Crystals are examples of nature's tendency towards order and symmetry. The study of crystals has led to our understanding of the size of atoms, and how they are arranged in compounds. With an understanding of the atomic structure and chemistry of materials, we can make predictions of the state and evolution of the planet's past, present and future.

Most importantly, minerals can be beautiful. Please remember to always take a moment to observe the inherent beauty of each sample.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Mineralogy
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Course Type: Upper Level:Mineralogy
Topics: Solid Earth:Mineralogy
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Mineralogy
Course Size:

Course Context:

This is an upper-division required mineralogy class. Introductory chemistry is a prerequisite, while introductory geology is not. The 10-week course meets 5 days a week with 3 hours of lab time and 3 hours of lecture time each week.

Course Goals:

*Students will identify samples of the common rock-forming minerals in hand samples and thin sections of the common rocks.
*Students will predict crystal structures and crystal stability to apply factors that affect the stability and occurrence of minerals and assemblages of minerals ("rocks").
*Students will be able to synthesize mineralogical data (visual inspection, petrographic microscopy, XRD and SEM/EDS) to address specific geological problems. This will be accomplished through the development of technical skills of data collection and applied to a mid-term project of the student's choosing. The topic chosen will address a geological problem with social, regional or economic significance.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Goals will be met through ungraded in-class exercises, graded laboratory and homework exercises and a capstone project of the student's chosing. The project will be presented to the class through a series of poster presentations. A final exam will test student's skills and content synthesis abilities.

Skills Goals

3-D visualization
Self- and peer-teaching

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

A series of exercises done independently and in groups will build up more and more complex three-dimensional structures. Visualization will be aided by drawings, building models, examining pre-made models, and constructing models with visualization software. Each step will ask students to evaluate their structure and solve problems pertaining to the arrangement of atoms in three dimensional space.
Students will be asked to apply these skills to a project of their own definition, work independently to collect and synthesis data and present the information to peers through a poster presentation.


Quantitative lab assignments and homework: 40 %
Lab quizzes: 10 %
Independent project: 15%
Participation: 10%
Midterm: 10 %
Written final: 15%
Lab final 15%