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 and to the polarizing microscope for optical mineral identification. Studies of polished thin sections provide important information on the crystallographic properties and the chemical composition of the common rock-forming minerals. Following examination of the most common rock types by optical microscopy, thin sections will be studied by scanning electron microscope and electron microprobe for a more detailed identification and characterization of microstructures and mineral compositions. Topics covered include the behavior of light in crystalline solids, the origin and nature of interference colors, refractive index, and birefringence, as well as the application of electron-beam based micro-analytical techniques. The course is principally aimed at geologists, but will 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.
  • Use scanning electron microscope and electron microprobe to characterize rock microstructures and mineral compositions.


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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 as an intensive course. 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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Study administration, email address:


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

Examination support material

No examination support material 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