Skip to main content


CEG2602 : Minerals and their Instabilities

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor David Manning
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of this course is to give students the opportunity to learn what is needed to understand the fundamental controls on mineral stabilities and how these relate to the minerals observed in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.
As a single course it allows connections to be made between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic processes, thus expressing a connection within the dynamic Earth system. The course will equip students for independent work, especially in the field and laboratory investigation of rocks, and includes development of practical skills in observation (microscope work) and data interpretation that are important in the Earth Sciences at all levels. It also addresses how mineral stabilities relate to the manufacture of key products and the associated positive and negative implications for climate change.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course introduces the techniques used to determine the mineralogical and chemical composition of minerals and rocks, including XRD, XRF, thermal analysis and electron beam methods. It then interprets data for rock compositions using simple phase diagrams and conventional TAS classification diagrams.

Basic, intermediate and acidic igneous rocks are considered separately and as a continuum, in the context of different Plate Tectonic settings.

Mineral reactions during burial diagenesis lead into metamorphism, covering contact and regional processes.

The use of mineral raw materials to make glass, cement and bricks is addressed, drawing together the techniques introduced during the course. The carbon emissions of these processes are discussed, and the use of minerals is described as a way of removing atmospheric CO2 to mitigate climate change.

The course involves thin section work and the use of phase diagrams in paper-based exercises. Brick manufacture is addressed in the lab through measurement of changes due to firing, including consideration of furnace oxygen fugacity.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Present in Person (PiP)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading19:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical112:0022:00PIP.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study128:0028:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are required to provide a framework for the development of learning and acquisition of knowledge.
Practical sessions are divided between 6 addressing the use of microscopes, and 5 that develop skills in interpreting mineralogical and chemical data and are vital for the acquisition of the skills that the module needs. A student will use the practical skills gained from this module throughout their entire career. The practical sessions involve opportunities for relationship building and articulation of a problem, through informal contact with teaching and demonstrating staff, as well as with peers.
The work is focused on substantial textbooks, and students will be directed to read selected peer reviewed journal papers to supplement work done in lectures and practicals.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A100Coursework; structured individual worksheet
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report1MFormative assessment of practical skills, to enable students to assess skill acquisition essential for future use of the technique
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessments relate specifically to the learning outcomes – testing knowledge and the acquisition of the required skills. A pass/fail formative lab exercise with feedback is included to prepare students for the summative assessment of lab work.

Reading Lists