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Second cycle
degree courses
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School of Science
Course unit
SCP4065427, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1178, Degree course structure A.Y. 2014/15, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 8.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ENVIRONMENTAL MINERALOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge GILBERTO ARTIOLI GEO/06
Other lecturers MICHELE SECCO GEO/09

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines GEO/06 Mineralogy 8.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 8.0 64 136.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2014 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
7 Commissione a.a. 2019/20 01/12/2019 30/11/2020 ARTIOLI GILBERTO (Presidente)
SECCO MICHELE (Membro Effettivo)
NIMIS PAOLO (Supplente)
6 Commissione a.a. 2018/19 01/12/2018 30/11/2019 ARTIOLI GILBERTO (Presidente)
SECCO MICHELE (Membro Effettivo)
NIMIS PAOLO (Supplente)

Prerequisites: Basic chemistry and chemical thermodynamics. Essentials of mineralogy and geology.
Target skills and knowledge: The course will introduce the fundamental concepts of the mineralogy and the crystal chemistry of Earth’s crust materials, as a base to characterize and interpret natural and anthropogenic processes having environmental implications. The aim is to illustrate through several case-studies the complexity of the environmental problems from the point of view of the analytical and instrumental approach, the understanding of the physico-chemical mechanisms, and the interpretative methodologies of the processes.
Examination methods: (1) mid-term presentation on an analytical technique selected by the teacher. The student will summarize: (a) the fundamentals of the technique, (b) the instrumental configuration, (c) the resulting information, (d) describe one application with environmental implications.

(2) The student will deliver a final presentation on a topic with environmental implications agreed with the teacher. The student will present: (a) the scientific problem, (b) the data available in the literature, with critical discussion, (c) the prospected actions for a better definition or solution of the problem.
Assessment criteria: The following will be assessed:
- comprehension ability and critical attitude of the student during the lectures
- understanding of technical concepts and analytical protocols during the mid-term presentation
- comprehension ability of the scientific literature, presentation ability, critical attitude during the final presentation
Course unit contents: Natural solid materials: basic concepts of mineralogy and crystal-chemistry.
Natural processes. Introduction on the distribution of the chemical elements on the Earth’s crust, on the geological processes, on the geochemical cycles. Processes and fluid-solid interactions at the mineral surfaces. Experimental techniques to study materials surfaces.
Case studies:
(1) Hazardous minerals in nature and in working places:
asbestos, free silica. Environmental monitoring, assessment, mineral quantification, disposal.
(2) Microporous materials and inclusion compounds: clays, zeolites, clathrates, gas hydrates. Crystal structure, crystal chemistry, absorption properties, ionic exchange properties, catalysis. Their use in environmental, agricultural, and industrial applications.
(3) Mineral dust. Origin, characterization. Implications for the palaeoclimatic and environmental reconstructions of the investigations of mineral dust entrapped in polar ice and ocean sediments.
(4) Metals and the environment. Dispersion and re-mobilization of toxic elements during mineral deposits exploitation and industrial transformation of raw resources. Acid mine drainage. The case of arsenic dispersion: inorganic vs bio-controlled processes.
(5) Binders and cements. Their use in history and in present societies as building materials. Environmental applications in solidification and inertization processes of wastes and polluted soils.
(6) Rare Earth Elements. REE cycle and natural resources. Their role in technological products, recovery from e-waste.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: - lectures by the teacher
- specific seminars by invited lecturers
- PC exercises on the interpretation of XRPD data
- mid-term and final student's presentations
- personal discussion on the selected topic for presentation
Additional notes about suggested reading: The lecture notes are available on line (in English):

The material is completed by the scientific literature relative to the topics selected by the students for their final presentation.

The students are invited to peruse the monographic issues of the "Elements" magazine, available on line:
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • D. Vaughan, R.A. Wogelius, Environmental mineralogy. EMU Notes in Mineralogy, Vol 2: Eotvos University Press, 2000. Cerca nel catalogo
  • G.D. Guthrie, B.T. Mossman, Health effects of mineral dust. Reviews in Mineralogy, Vol. 28: Mineralogical Society of America, 1993.
  • J.F. Banfield, A. Navrotsky, Nanoparticles and the environment. Rev. Mineral. Geochem., Vol 44: Mineralogical Society of America, 2001. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)
  • student presentations

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • course website

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Good Health and Well-Being Affordable and Clean Energy Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Sustainable Cities and Communities Responsible Consumption and Production Climate Action