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The content of this first chapter in Mineralogy and Optical Mineralogy is basically what we hope our students will remember 10 years from now. As we like to say in class, this is the guts of mineralogy. The point of Chapter 1 is to provide some fairly basic content that reappears on our learning spiral time and time again. We hope you will agree that what we've picked to include here is very important!
There will be very little theory in this chapter for why many of the mineralogical concepts are the way they are. You may become frustrated by this, but bear with us! The best way to understand mineralogical concepts is first to have a basic grasp of the vocabulary. Thus Chapter 1 contains the bottom elements on the spirals in the Preface. We present here the fundamental building blocks of mineralogy. For that reason, much of the material in this chapter must simply be memorized (sorry about that). When we move on to the following chapters, we will explain ways that you can remember this material. We promise to provide you with the knowledge and techniques to actually derive this information for yourselves, without the need for memorization.
Topics covered in Chapter 1 include: What’s a Mineral? Chemical Elements Crystal Systems Optical Classes The Big Ten Minerals