Fun With Asbestos

Dexter Perkins
,
University of North Dakota
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Summary

This exercise is a practical application of optical mineralogy involving identification of some asbestiform minerals.

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Context

Audience

This exercise is designed for a mid/upper-level undergraduate geology course on the principles of mineralogy.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have knowledge of basic chemistry and of minerals equivalent to what they would learn in an introductory geology class.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is the 17th of 36 mineralogy exercises and is used around the middle of the course. This activity is a stand-alone exercise, but is part of a larger volume of classroom and laboratory activities from "Teaching Mineralogy," a workbook published by the Mineralogical Society of America, Brady, J., Mogk, D. W., and Perkins, D., (editors), 1997,406 pp.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Learn about different properties that can be seen with an optical microscope. Relief, extinction angle, birefringence, etc., are observable in this exercise.
  • Become familiar with mineral properties in thin section.
  • Learn to distinguish asbsestiform and related minerals from each other.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

  • Learn to sift through data in order to identify that which is key to solving a problem.

Other skills goals for this activity

  • Recognize practical and meaningful applications for petrography and science.

Description of the activity/assignment

This exercise is a practical application of optical mineralogy involving identification of some asbestiform minerals. First, students learn about asbestos and its various forms and are posed several related questions. Then, they look at several asbestos grain mounts under a petrographic microscope and answer more related questions.

Determining whether students have met the goals

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Supporting references/URLs

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