Rocks and Minerals

tutor: Mike Horne FGS

for the Centre for Life Long Learning

University of Hull

This course provided the opportunity to study the common rock-forming minerals and rock types using the University collection. Emphasis will be given to rocks and minerals that can be found locally on the beaches of Holderness.

Topics covered included:

The physical properties of minerals - crystal shape, colour, streak, harness, density, &c.

The common rock forming minerals, such as quartz, feldspar, micas, calcite, &c. and some rarer minerals and gemstones.

The rock cycle.

The physical properties of rocks - mineralogy, texture, grain size, &c.

The major categories of rock types and how they are formed.

Some of the more common rock types - such as granite, basalt, slate, gneiss, marble, limestone, clays, sandstones etc., concentrating on the types that can be found locally.

Health and safety and the care of specimens was also introduced in the course.

Each meeting normally consisted of one hour of lectures/talks with the aid of slides and OHP, and demonstrations; followed by one hour of practical work, with personal advice from the tutor, using specimens in the University collection

Students were asked to keep a record of the specimens they study during the practical work. They were loaned a box of specimens for study at home and they were asked to identify and write about the specimens at home, which formed the main assessment. Some students preferred to present their work orally to the class or the tutor privately. More experienced students were encouraged to undertake a project on a particular aspect of the course that interested them, after discussion with the tutor.

Recommended reading (these books and others were available for loan from the Book Box):

Penguin Dictionary of Geology

Boegel H - Collectors Guide to Minerals and Gemstones

Wright D1994 - Field Guide - Rocks and Minerals

Bell R 1996 - Yorkshire Rock

Kirkaldy - Minerals and Rocks

Dana - Minerals and how to study them

Press F & Siever R 1994 - Understanding Earth

Hamblin W E 1989 - The Earth's Dynamic Systems

Bell P & Wright D 1994 - Rocks and Minerals

Rotherby D A 2001 - Teach yourself volcanoes. Hodder & Stoughton, London.

The course consisted of ten Wednesday evening meetings from 7-30pm until 9-30pm at the University of Hull, Department of Geography. The course was run in Autumn 1997, Autumn 1999, Autumn 2002, Autumn 2005, Autumn 2008 and Autumn 2011.


links to some course notes (use your browser to return to this page rather than the back buttons on the pages) :-

Risk assessment for laboratory work

Properties of minerals in hand specimen

The Rock Cycle

Describing rocks

Igneous Rocks

Rocks of Holderness beaches

copyright Mike Horne - October 2016

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