Spring 2025


Listed in: Geology, as GEOL-271


Victor E. Guevara (Sections 01 and 01L)


Minerals are the fundamental building blocks of planetary materials, are essential natural resources for human society, and they modulate earth and environmental systems. This course explores the origin, distribution, and scientific and societal relevance of minerals. Through project-based inquiry, students will investigate the chemical and physical properties of minerals across a range of spatial scales, from the scale of individual atoms, to that of a hand specimen. We will use physical and chemical observations of minerals to infer the processes and environments that lead to their formation, and how minerals exert a first-order control on large scale geologic processes, from earth’s core to the human environment.

Requisite: GEOL 111 or 112. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Victor Guevara.

How to handle overenrollment: contact Professor(s)

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Lab exercises will involve hands-on experience in: recognizing 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional crystallographic patterns, identifying minerals using hand-sample specimens, optical microscopes, and the scanning electron microscope, as well as the application of mineral identification to quantitative and qualitative problem solving. In-class, active-learning exercises and problem sets will foster an inclusive learning community. Reflection assignments will ask participants to deeply engage with the course content and become aware of how they are learning. There will be two open-note, asynchronous, learning assessments that assess students' understanding of concepts, and the integration of the concepts. A collaborative research project involving reading of peer-reviewed literature and a 20-25 minute oral presentation will allow students to explore how the study of minerals is integral to all sub-disciplines in geoscience.

Cost: $$110 ?

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Spring 2025