Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

This course covers the quantitative methods used to infer the evolution of igneous and metamorphic rocks from their mineral assemblages and textures. Students will learn a variety of approaches, from field study to thermodynamic calculations, all of which help to draw conclusions on multi-scale observations of real rocks. Applied petrology includes the understanding of how predictive models for rocks under different pressures, temperatures and fluid compositions are carried out, with a special emphasis on raw materials in general. This unit comprises the study of published work showing the application of petrological methods to ore geology. Knowing basic petrologic concepts and how to perform a microstructural study on thin sections using optical and electronic microscopies are a prerequisite.

Course contents


  • Introduction of the course and its philosophy;
  • Outline of the contents and the assessment methods
  • Practical information


  • Description and interpretation of igneous and metamorphic rocks in hand-specimen and thin-section.
  • Processes in magma formation, transport, emplacement, and mechanisms of magmatic differentiation.
  • Magma genesis in relation to tectonic setting.
  • Influence of rock chemistry, temperature and pressure on metamorphic mineral assemblages. The metamorphic facies.
  • Chemical equilibrium and metamorphic reactions.
  • Fluids, migmatites and partial melting.
  • Tectonic setting of metamorphism.


  • Field description of igneous and metamorphic rocks as host of ore deposits

(the following information are outdated)

  • A one-day excursion focusing on reconnaissance geology of Northern Apennines ophiolites with variable degrees of hydrothermal alteration.
  • Two/three-day field camp on crystalline basements in the Alps or Northern Apennines (depending on weather conditions). Lithology of host rocks of ore deposits .


(numbers refer to the course sessions described above)


Jébrak M., Montel J-M. (2017) Educating the Resource Geologist of the Future: Between Observation and Imagination. Elements, 13, 331-336.



Selected chapters from Klein C, Philpotts A.R. (2017) Earth materials. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.


Fry N. (2013) The field description of metamorphic rocks. Chichester; Wiley

Jerram D., Petford N. (2011) The field description of igneous rocks (2nd ed.). Chichester; Wiley.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures on background concepts in igneous and metamorphic petrology
  • Lab work on mineral and petrographic characterization of igneous and/or metamorphic rocks using a variety of observations scales (from visual inspection to SEM-EDS work) and interpretative schemes.
  • Field work, to develop practical skills on rocks reconnaissance.

Assessment methods

Different assessment methods will be used to evaluate the students:

  • content-based
  • competence-based and
  • impact-based assessments.

Content-based assessment refers to assessment tasks that mainly ask the learner about facts. Competence-based assessment refers to assessment of intended learning outcomes that ask the learner to show ability to also use these facts. Impact-based assessments take the assessment of competencies one step further and ask the learner to use these competencies in a real-life situation to create a change or solve a challenge.

The grades in the Italian university system are expressed out of thirty. The passing grade is 18/30. In case of full grade (30/30) the Professor(s) may also decide to award honours (lode).

Here below the breakdown of the final grade

10% Class participation

20% Field work output - Written report

70% Final exam - Written report and presentation of the lab work

Teaching tools

  • Lecture rooms equipped with audiovisual resources
  • Study rooms with wireless internet (Almawifi; Eduroam)
  • Rock and thin section collections
  • Laboratory equipped with polarizing microscopes (transmitted light) and audiovisual resources
  • Free entrance to the Collezione di Mineralogia "Museo Luigi Bombicci" [https://sma.unibo.it/it/il-sistema-museale/collezione-di-mineralogia-luigi-bombicci]

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Braga

See the website of Alberto Vitale Brovarone