• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Gregory Yaxley
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

This course is for Honours students

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.

Note: Honours students attend joint classes with undergraduate students and graduate students 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. Compare and contrast different mineral assemblages and host rocks, including igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and some ores.
  2. Explain and articulate that minerals are crystalline materials; that macroscopic symmetry arises from a repeated arrangement of atoms and describe how this is used for mineral classification.
  3. Balance chemical formulas of relevant reactions and discuss simple structural formulas from chemical analyses of common minerals.
  4. Explain and 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. Describe and differentiate 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. Apply basic phase diagrams to explain partial melting, fractional crystallization 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)

Honours students attend joint classes with undergraduates (EMSC2017) but  will be given alternative 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 lectures, workshops and laboratory classes. Up to 55 hours non-contact time for completion of assessable practical exercises, assignments and revision.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the Research School of Earth Sciences to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

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

Assumed Knowledge

Some Earth Science and/or Chemistry background


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
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
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
4228 19 Feb 2018 27 Feb 2018 31 Mar 2018 25 May 2018 In Person N/A

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