Earth, Our Environment - Class Notes
Chapter 3, Minerals: The Building Blocks of Rocks - 01

The goal in this course it to understand how the Earth works. To reach this understanding, we must understand the materials that make up Earth.

Last chapter, we discussed how the elements are formed in stars and supernovae, and how the Earth formed.

Now we turn our attention to how the atoms created in stellar processes combine with each other, especially how they interact to form rocks.

We will see that the mineral which atoms combine to form depends on the environment. Thus if we idenitfy minerals in a rock, we know something about how that rock formed

We summarize laboratory observations on the mineral formation and stability using phase diagrams.

We will also examine the distribution of minerals within Earth.

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Prepared by: Charles J. Ammon
February 1997