12.108 | Fall 2004 | Undergraduate

Structure of Earth Materials


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 2 sessions / week, 3 hours / session


This course provides a comprehensive introduction to crystalline structure, crystal chemistry, and bonding in rock-forming minerals. It introduces the theory relating crystal structure and crystal symmetry to physical properties such as refractive index, elastic modulus, and seismic velocity. It surveys the distribution of silicate, oxide, and metallic minerals in the interiors and on the surfaces of planets, and discusses the processes that led to their formation. It also addresses why diamonds are hard and why micas split into thin sheets.


Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry (3.091) or Principles of Chemical Science (5.111, 5.112)

Grading and Work Breakdown

Lab Assignments & Lab Quizzes 50%
Problem Sets 12.5%
Midterm Exam 12.5%
Final Exam 25%
  1. Weekly lectures and reading assignments
  2. 3-4 problem sets
  3. Labs with written exercises
  4. Lab quizzes
  5. Midterm exam
  6. Final exam


Blackburn, William H., and William H. Dennen. Principles of Mineralogy. 2nd ed. Dubuque, Iowa: William C Brown Publishers, 16 September 1993. ISBN: 9780697150783.

Deer, W. A., R. A. Howie, and J. Zussman. An Introduction to the Rock-forming Minerals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996. ISBN: 9780582300941.

Klein, Cornelius, Cornelius S. Hurlbut Jr., and James Dwight Dana. Manual of Mineralogy: After James D. Dana. 21st ed. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons Inc., 1 May 1993. ISBN: 9780471574521.

Bloss, F. Donald. Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry. Mineralogical Society of America_,_ New York, NY: Thomson Learning, 1971. ISBN: 9780030851551.

Nye, J. F. Physical Properties of Crystals: Their Representation by Tensors and Matrices. Reprint ed. London, UK: Oxford University Press, 1 August 1985. ISBN: 9780198511656.

Putnis, Andrew. An Introduction to Mineral Sciences. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, November 27, 1992. ISBN: 9780521429474.

Zoltai, Tibor, and James H. Stout. Mineralogy: Concepts and Principles. Minneapolis, Minn.: Burgess Pub. Co., c1984. ISBN: 9780808726067.

Loretto, M. H., and Smallman. Defect Analysis in Electron Microscopy. Wiley, Distributed by Halstead Press, 1975. ISBN: 9780412137600.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
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Lecture Notes
Problem Sets