91560 - Applied Petrology

Course Unit Page


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

Affordable and clean energy Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

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

Definition of the most important petrologic pathways of global volatile recycling as drivers for element mobility/deposition and ore formation. Summary of key igneous and metamorphic rocks and their role in global volatile cycling. Description and interpretation of fluid-rock interaction processes through theory, field, and microstructural features. Analytical techniques in petrology.

Teaching methods

Lectures, hands-on practices to gain experience on global petrological processes controlling element recycling in the lithosphere, from the field to the microscale, including optical and electron microscopy. Individual work and reporting on different types of assignments, for example managing geochemical dataset. Learning activities may be delivered also in instructed team sessions, to enhance group discussion, or in flipped class to increase student engagement and learning.

Assessment methods

The individual performances are evaluated through the participation in class activities, and through the final written and oral exam. Class participation includes student engagement during lectures and practical work. The field work output will consist in public presentation of field work observations and interpretations. Each student is expected to deliver a professional-style presentation of her/his work during a collective public oral session. Interaction with other components of the teaching panel and the Department staff will be encouraged. The final written exam is a written report dealing with an individual research project. The oral exam is aimed at discussing the individual reports and testing the contents of the course.

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 - Public presentation

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 and reflected 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 Alberto Vitale Brovarone

See the website of Guillaume Siron