GEO4810 – Petrography and Microstructures

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course provides a basic introduction to the optical properties of crystalline matter, to the polarizing microscope for optical mineral identification, and to mineral microstructures. Studies of polished thin sections provide important information on the mineral composition of a rock as well as its alteration and deformation.

The course will cover the behavior of light in crystalline solids, the origin and nature of interference colors, refractive index, and birefringence. This knowledge will then be used to identify rock-forming minerals with an optical microscope. Additionally, microstructures indicative of deformation and alteration processes will be discussed.  

The course is principally aimed at geologists, but may be relevant for solid-state chemists and material scientists working with analyses of solid materials at microscopic scales.

Learning outcome

After taken this course you will be able to:

  • Identify the most common rock-forming minerals by means of their optical properties.
  • Interpret common microstructures in terms of the underlying rock forming and rock modifying processes.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Following HSE course must be taken before the first lecture:

Recommended previous knowledge

Overlapping courses

8 credits overlap with G221 – Optical mineralogy


This course will be held throughout the semester. The course consists of lectures and compulsory exercises.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.


  • Mid-term examination (2 hours) counts for 50%.
  • Final written examination (3 hours) counts for 50%.

Examination support material

Mid term examination: 

  • No examination support material is allowed.

Final written examination:

  • A mineral identification table and a textbook on optical mineralogy is allowed.

Language of examination

In this course any written exam questions or assignment questions may be available in English only.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


This course changed name from the autumn of 2018 from GEO4810 - Optical mineralogy to GEO4810 - Petrography and Microstructures.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language