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Last modified: 31 Jul 2023 11:19

Course Overview

Students will learn how to determine geological processes through application of microscopic techniques. This will include transmitted light microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Cathodoluminescence and quantitative mineral analysis by Electron Microprobe. The students will work through a suite of geological materials based around themes determined by the underpinning geological processes. These themes will include: deformation processes, metamorphism, fluid-rock interaction, melt crystallisation, and sedimentary processes.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Malcolm J. Hole

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Geology And Petroleum Geology (GL) or Geoscience (GX)
  • Programme Level 5
  • Any Undergraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Geological research requires the study of rocks and therefore information about component minerals in those rocks is fundamental to understanding geological processes.  For magmatic rocks, methods of applying quantitative mineral analysis to obtain temperature and pressure estimates for crystallization will be investigated.  These will centre on olivine- and pyroxene- melt equilibria and phase relationships.  For metamorphic rocks, textural and chemical data obtained from both electron microprobe and scanning electron microscope will be used to investigate the relationships between mineralogy, rock texture and styles of deformation.  This will involve examination of fault rocks from brittle to ductile, including pseudotachyltes, cataclasites and mylonites. The growth of minerals and mineral-fluid equilibria during burial and diagenesis of sedimentary rocks will also forma a significant part of the course.   The course will involve ‘hands-on’ experience of scanning electron microscopy, electron microprobe analysis and cathodoluminescence along with optical microscopy.   Problems will be set that require the utilization of these techniques and the students will apply the relevant techniques to solving thses problems.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments


Assessment Type Summative Weighting 100
Assessment Weeks 10,13,17 Feedback Weeks 12,15,18

Look up Week Numbers


Feedback will be given both online (MyAberdeen) and at workshops

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualApplyApply analytical techniques by executing laboratory analysis and implementing data acquired to geological problems.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualUnderstandUnderstand the geological problem that is to be investigated.
ReflectionCreateCreate a scientific report outlining the reasons for the selection of a particular model as applied to the problem identified.
ConceptualAnalyseCritically analyse data and select and organise that which is relevant to the problem as defined.
FactualApplyApply analytical techniques by executing laboratory analysis and implementing data acquired to geological problems.
ProceduralEvaluateEvaluate data and assess its applicability to the problem identified.
ReflectionCreateGenerate hypotheses and models to match the acquired data to the problem in question. Assess the validity of each model.

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