Example Exercises and Activities
- Directed Discovery of Crystal Structures
David Mogk and Kent Ratajeski
In this exercise, students download crystal structures for viewing and manipulation with visualization software. By answering a series of leading questions, the students learn about the spatial and chemical relationships in a variety of crystalline solids (including mineral and non-mineral species) and piece together for themselves "Pauling's Rules" which describe the fundamental principles of crystal structures.
- Identifying Minerals with Chemical and Crystallographic Data
In this review exercise, students download crystal structures of unknown minerals for viewing with a visualization program such as XtalDraw or CrystalMaker, and through a series of leading questions, determine the identity of each unknown.
- Order/Disorder Within Crystal Structures as a Function of Temperature
In this exercise, students download crystal structures of experimentally-synthesized olivines determined over a range of temperatures to investigate the mineral's unique order/disorder properties.
- Crystal Structures as Geobarometers
In this exercise, designed for undergraduate igneous petrology or advanced mineralogy courses, students download a series of crystal structures from the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database to explore the crystal-chemical basis that allows the clinopyroxene crystal structure to be used as a geobarometer.