• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Gregory Yaxley
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

Common crustal and upper mantle rock types will be studied, with emphasis on their formation and mineralogy, leading to rock-type classification. Study of the important rock types in the Earth is combined with the investigation of the common rock-forming minerals, with particular emphasis on those minerals that comprise the bulk of the Earth's crust and upper mantle.

The influence of changing pressure, temperature and chemical environment on the origin and occurrence of different classes of minerals and rocks will be discussed. Rocks and minerals are investigated in hand specimens and in thin sections under the microscope. Simple phase relations and phase diagrams relevant to important mineral groups will be examined, in the context of explaining formation and properties of minerals and rocks. Other aspects explored will be the characteristics and economic significance of the most important ore and gem minerals, and the properties of minerals that may cause health problems.

Laboratory: Practical work will give students skills in physical, microscopic, instrumental analytical and numerical techniques necessary for the identification and study of natural minerals and rocks.


Honours Pathway Option

Additional readings of greater conceptual difficulty requiring an advanced scientific understanding will be made available for students enrolled in the Honours Pathway Option. 20% of the marks available on the exam will be answers to alternate questions for HPO students. Integration of this material in the essay will be expected.


Note: Graduate students (EMSC6017) attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Give examples of different mineral assemblages and host rocks, including igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and some ores.
  2. Explain that minerals are crystalline materials; that macroscopic symmetry arises from a repeated arrangement of atoms and how this is used for mineral classification.
  3. Balance chemical formulas of relevant reactions and determine simple structural formulas from chemical analyses of common minerals.
  4. Describe the physical properties of hand specimens of rocks and minerals, with clear sketches and at least provisional identification of mineral species, with explanation of reasoning.
  5. Recognise and describe different minerals and rocks using the petrographic microscope and identify minerals and hence classify host rocks.
  6. Relate mineralogical and textural observations in a simple way to host rock petrogenesis and tectonic processes.
  7. Understand basic phase diagrams and how they relate to mineral solid solutions, partial melting and other deep Earth processes.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on

  • 3 assignments done out of class time (10% each, LOs 1, 2, 3 and 7)
  • 3 practical exercises done during Practical Classes and out of class time (10% each, LO 4, 5 and 6)
  • 1 closed book exam on whole course content, held at the end of the course (40%, LO 1-7)

Students in the graduate level course (EMSC6017) will be given additional assessment which will be agreed upon in the first week of semester.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


A maximum of 65 hours formal contact time, including 26 hours of lectures and 39 hours of laboratory classes. Up to 55 hours non-contact time for completion of assessable practical exercises, assignments and revision.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed EMSC1008. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed GEOL2017 or EMSC6017.

Prescribed Texts

No prescribed textbook. We provide a class library of textbooks for use in class and advice on other useful learning resources.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1930 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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