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MPG Foundations of Geology  

Mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry (MPG) provide the foundations for interpreting Earth. The principles of the MPG disciplines are widely used in sister geoscience disciplines:
--the role of crystal defects in deformation processes;
--thermobarometry, geochronology in developing PTt paths used in tectonic models;
--physical properties of minerals used to interpret seismic records....

PLEASE ADD YOUR OWN EXAMPLES OF APPLICATIONS OF MINERALOGY, PETROLOGY AND GEOCHEMISTRY IN SUPPORT OF BROADER GEOSCIENCE RESEARCH PROJECTS. It would be great to have a comprehensive list developed to clearly show where MPG methods and data are used throughout the Earth sciences.


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Most of the examples often used are really chemistry but they must be taught as mineralogy. I am long an emeritus professor but I continue to have strong interest. As an undergraduate I took a year (2, Four Hour courses) of mineralogy courses and there was a great deal of memory work. Happily I never taught mineralogy that way rather I concentrated on crystalography and crystal chemistry in hopes that students would view the course as real science. I was often told that my mineralogy course was a very enlightening but tough. We did little about the distribution of minerals or rock types or their modes of formation, that was left for petrology and geochemistry courses that followed. In Min. we also covered principles and some application of x-ray methods and an introduction to optics but that was mostly covered in another course. That kind of material, I believe is the necessary support of broader geoscience topics and stands as a strong foundation for geology that is to follow and the methods of science in general. If you do not understand crystal chemistry you will never understand crystal defects to use one of your examples. Maybe this approach is sort of old fashioned but our students seemed to do quite well with it.


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We had Jill Pasteris come and visit a few years ago and she gave a great lecture on Environmental 'mineralogy', documenting effects of mineralogy on controlling As contamination in groundwater in Bangledesh. Seems to me that many/most contamination problems involve solid-liquid equilibria hence mineralogy and geochemistry!

Remember another lecture from early 1990's about fluoridation problems in Scandanvia related to water sources in Fluorite-bearing rapakivi granites...


Share edittextuser=1523 post_id=1982 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=413

HI Dave

Good luck. I have been trying to gather university and professor support for research and teaching in mineral deposits. Despite 3 years of high metal prices, there are only ~120 grad students in the USA in mineral deposit programs, with graduation rates of 40-50 per year and far below the USA need. We have ~100 professors of EG in the USA, but only about 1/2 have active research and grad programs, and most have retrained into other areas.

Mark Barton and I helped to get started a USGS research grant program (Mineral Resource External Research Program), that got up to $1 M in FY2006 but got cut back to $250,000 last year. We've done this through National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, the university association that advocates for public funding in Washignton, DC. Mark and I have served as officers on the Mineral and Energy Resource Section fo the Board of Natural Resources... and have made a dozen trips to DC to make this a reality. AASG (Am Assoc of State Geologists) led by Jon Price has been a great resource.

We have been disappointed in that the minerals industry has shown little interest in education/research, and that professors in general are overcommitted and don't have time to visit DC or write letters. We've had about 20 professors write letters, and 7 or 8 visit DC over 5-6 years.

Mineral resource training and research depends strongly on good undergraduate and graduate level training in MPG, as well as field geology, structural geology, and stratigraphy/earth history. Mineral resources are a natural selling point for MPG studies, and we should be allies. One of the major shifts in the last 20 years has been from resource based-geology to process-based and human-based geoscience: Both MPG and Mineral Resources have suffered with this change, but both are relevant. MPG underpins all Mineral Resources and a variety of other basic earth science issues of concern to the public. We cannot address these issues without MPG training and research. And, it is socially relevant. Copper, my principal area of research, is consumed annually at a rate of 20 M tonnes, worth today in excess of $150 Billion..... this amount of copper is about equivalent to what has been mined over a period of ~100 years in the world two biggest mines, Bingham, UTAH, and Chuquicamata, Chile. And, the rate of use corresponds to 8 lb/person per year globally, and more like 30 lb/year in the USA. Todays cars used ~100 lb Cu, hybrids about 150 lbs, compared to the 1960's use of 50 lb. Several other trends (solar, wind, hydro) power also increase Cu use.

So, we do need to band together, and support federal research and teaching in MPG, and related science like mineral resources. Igneous petrology and geochemistry is doing well on the research/training front, in part because of active processes related to volcanoes and human impact; metamorphic petrology is dying and mineral deposits and mineralogy are in trouble as well. I have taught optical min/petrography and mineralogy for 10 years, and welcome all help.




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