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This lab is designed to be a highly interactive lab session for a petrology course, where instructors provide a minimal level of essential background and then the entire group works together to explore mineral chemistry. In using a new piece of technology, students can "learn as they go." The point is not to understand every aspect of how an instrument works or to become proficient users, but rather to use the visual impact of the output to catch their interest and advance their analytical skills in the process. I find this lab works very well as a bridge between two semesters of a typical Mineralogy-Petrology sequence. Having completed crystallography, systematic mineralogy and optical, students find this a welcome change of pace and it helps them to start thinking about how mineral associations form the basis of petrology. It is also a great reinforcement and integration of mineralogy and chemistry, allowing you to leap off into crystal chemistry more deeply.
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