Department of Earth Science       Northeastern Illinois University

                                                                      J. Hemzacek homepage 

image courtesy of NASA

This webpage is the primary informational source for this class. 
Resources and detailed information that you will need to succeed
will be provided in class and on this page.

Project Resources and Information

    resources for lunar and meteorite explorations

Course Syllabus (live web version)
Topic schedule and reading assignments
Course documents (printable versions)

Web links for research and for fun


Course Handouts
and Other Important Stuff

printable versions - as given in class:
course syllabus (schedule of topics)
course information (grading, etc.)


some documents are in .pdf form;     
if you do not have Adobe® Reader®,     
click here to download.      

Webs and images used in class:

Minerals and Light:
      crystal structure of fluorite:              1         2    
      crystal structure of muscovite:         1  

      light interaction and relief       internal reflection
                      relief 2

thin sections: intro to some features


definition of a mineral?

new mineral names

silica polymorphs

H2O phase diagram



feldspar twinning


© 2012 J Hemzacek
Last updated 13 Aug 2012










WELCOME to Mineralogy
I am really looking forward to spending this semester with you, as we explore the science of minerals, crystals, and the geology of mineral occurrences!

The following information will help you navigate the process of using appropriate text resources for this class:  

There is not a specific, required text for this course.   However, your success in this class will require that you have an appropriate text reference available as a resource.

There are many appropriate textbooks available for courses in Mineralogy.  Some examples will be shared with you in class, during the first week of the semester: you can see a variety of texts before making a decision, if you would like to examine them. 
I have a suggestion for an excellent text: one that will serve you as an important resource throughout your future geologic career, no matter what your specific direction.  The information for that text is given below, and you may go ahead with obtaining that book if you wish.  If you are unable to commit to purchasing that text at this time, not to worry - there are other options!

Because I was assigned to teach this class at a late date, we will begin the semester using resources that are readily available to you, including the text that you used for the prerequisite class (ESCI 306 Rocks & Minerals).  For most (if not all) of you, this will be Earth Materials (Hefferan & O'Brien; Wiley-Blackwell).  This book will serve you just fine as we continue to explore some topics that were introduced in that course.  Additional resources, both in print and online, will be shared with you as we move forward.  There are other alternative texts for Mineralogy that you can consider.... see some options below; check this document for more alternatives, with my comments and some pricing information. 

A text that I highly recommend is by  Dyar, Gunter, and Tasa:  Mineralogy and Optical Mineralogy (2008)
This text is only available through the professional society, Mineralogical Society of America.  Members of MSA receive a 25% discount on all MSA publications, including this text; student membership in this Society costs only $10.  With membership, the cost of this text is $67.50 (plus shipping). 
This book includes a very useful DVD with additional resources, including full-color illustrations (the text is only B&W, which keeps the cost lower). 
If you choose to join MSA and order this book, you can go to the website at:

Some of the alternate textbooks for this course include:
Earth Materials (Hefferan & O'Brien) - the book you likely already have
Manual of Mineral Science (Klein et al.) - quite thorough; newer edition is more readable than early ones
Mineralogy (Perkins) - very readable; not as encyclopedic
Mineralogy: A Geologist's Point of View (Hibbard)
Check out more options in this document, which also includes my comments and some pricing information.

New editions of texts can be pricey, but older editions are sometimes readily available (through internet sites, etc.) at much reduced cost. 
If you have access to an older edition of one of these texts, it will still be perfectly useful for this course, and more economical; however, I do suggest that you don't go with *too old* of an edition!  (one or 2 editions previous). 

** ONE CAUTION Whichever option you choose for a text, think about the timing!  If you are ordering online, make use of options such as expedited shipping (for an inexpensive text, this is a good investment!) or use, for example, Amazon Prime's free 3-day shipping option.
You don't want to still be waiting for a text as the first exam approaches! 
Hopefully, you still have the Rocks & Minerals text; if you feel that you need additional resources on certain topics, don't hesitate to ask me!

I'm looking forward to a great semester with you!











    resources for exploration of lunar and meteorite materials

    Google moon

       Lunar Petrographic Thin Section Set Education Guide   
                      pdf version of the same:
Lunar Petrographic Thin Section Set Education Guide

                      Lunar sample atlas        

     Kurt Hollocher, Union College (NY), has a great website with images and information from the lunar thin sections
     National Air and Space Museum   Apollo's Lunar Rocks: What we Learned About the Moon

               current hypotheses about the origin of the moon

     Lunar magma ocean and lunar anorthosites            "How volcanoes work" - volcanoes on the moon

     NASA Virtual Microscope       STFC Virtual Microscope


Reflected light microscopy:
               Behavior in Reflected Light (scroll down the page a bit to get to the section by this name)




See this document for overview of project (as provided in class)

Additional Details
   -- Create an account on the MyPlan site and complete the 4 assessments. 
   -- View your career match results, and complete a short reflection on the career information:
            print out this worksheet;
            and provide responses on it, after exploring career information in MyPlan.

   -- note that citations for your resources can be provided in any standard format (MLA, Chicago,
          ACS, etc.), as long as you are consistent and provide the complete reference.  For general
          information on a simple format (based on format of a scientific journal), see this document.

The deliverables of the project include:
   --  an electronic version of your PowerPoint presentation (bring on flash drive or send via email);

   -- your completed career reflection worksheet;

   -- an oral presentation of your project (10-15 minutes). 
The focus here is on sharing what you have discovered in this process; your presentation need not be "formal"; in fact, informal and informational is perfect.  :o)

The rubric for the project is here.



Topics and Activities - "live" version.  This page will be regularly updated as needed, and due dates, assignment details, and reading topics
will be linked here for your reference.  Check this page regularly to stay current!!


TOPICS (schedule subject to change)

reading by topic
(with links to online resources)


29 Aug

Course outline; policies and expectations Review of mineral identification techniques and practice    

31 Aug


elements, ions, bonds: 
    chemweb sections 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 mineral classification & physical properties of minerals   web1    web2 

5 Sep


properties of light: interference, refraction (handout)

7 Sep


12 Sep


14 Sep


isotropic optics; handouts

19 Sep


21 Sep



26 Sep

    uniaxial optics

28 Sep


biaxial optics

3 Oct


5 Oct

      Miller indices
      NOTE NEW DATE for EXAM 2

12 Dec

FINAL EXAM 4:00 - 5:50 p.m.

  note final exam schedule.







Team Information:
    a copy












 of the contract you have signed for team/group work in this class can be found here