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The mineralogy , outdated and Oryktognosie (Greek-German: The knowledge or science of minerals), deals with the origin and properties of minerals . In contrast, lithurgy deals with the use and processing of minerals .

Minerals are the predominantly inorganic building blocks of rocks ; they are characterized by a characteristic chemical composition and a certain geometric crystal structure.

History of mineralogy

Mineralogy developed from knowledge of mining and the natural philosophy of the Greeks. Mining began in the Upper Paleolithic with the mining of clay for the manufacture of ceramics . When people started to make metal ( Bronze Age , Copper Age , Iron Age ), they dealt with copper ore and zinc ore and later with iron ore .

In antiquity , mineralogy was pursued through a philosophical approach - often by polymaths - which included precise observations of nature. So Thales of Miletus led around 600 BC From observations of sedimentation processes and volcanic activities theories of mineral formation; thus he laid a foundation for the development of mineralogy as a science. Pliny the Elder wrote the Naturalis historia in AD 77 , with five volumes devoted to mineralogy.

In the Middle Ages, mineralogy developed into an applied science that served mining. So led Avicenna (Abu Ali Al-Hussain ibn Abdullāh Avicenna) 1000 n. Chr., The first classification system for minerals, a (salts, sulfur, metals, and stones) carried by Albertus Magnus 1269 by its deposit known pending "De rebus metallicis et mineralibus libri V ”has been added. Medieval mineralogy was also heavily influenced by alchemy . Modern mineralogy, however, is based only on empirical observations. It began in 1556 with the publication of the “De re metallica libri XII” by Georgius Agricola (1494–1555, called “Father of Mineralogy”) and the Gemmarum et lapidum historia d ' Anselmus de Boodt (1550–1632).

Until around 1800 mineralogy was a hobby of (mostly) wealthy individual scholars; later mineralogical institutes were set up at universities, where important mineralogists of the time such as B. Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) and Friedrich Mohs (1773-1839) taught. In the course of industrialization , metal production and mining increased sharply. In the 20th century, through the implementation of physical and chemical methods, mineralogy changed from a qualitative to a quantitative science. Experiments became more and more important compared to field observations. In addition, the use of minerals and their synthetic analogues became more and more important in technology; today it is the main field of work for mineralogists.

research object

Position of mineralogy between chemistry, physics, geology and materials science

Mineralogy is the material science among the geosciences . It thus acts as a bridge between geology , chemistry , physics and materials science .

Mineralogy examines at what point in time, with what speed , under what pressure and at what temperature , in what chemical environment and by what processes minerals were formed ( geothermobarometry ). This information is important building blocks for the reconstruction of the development of the earth and the universe , but also for the synthesis of minerals for technical purposes, e.g. B. of diamond . Mineralogists research the mechanical, optical, thermal, electrical, magnetic and chemical properties of minerals in order to open up new uses. The hardness as the most important mechanical property plays in the development of mineral hard materials such as boron nitride or sialon , in the research of earthquakes and the treatment involved mineral resources. Optical properties in the manufacture of Yttrium Aluminum Garnet - lasers used. Thermal properties are important for the development of ceramic hobs based on the Li-silicate petalite . The high dielectric constant of mica is z. B. used in irons as electrical insulation, the piezoelectricity of quartz for the construction of clocks . The ferrimagnetism of magnetite enables a reconstruction of the earth's magnetic field and thus the movement of the continents for past geological ages . The chemical composition of so-called scout minerals helps in prospecting and exploration of deposits .

Investigation methods

The rock approach in the field with Lupe and hydrochloric acid is still the first step of many mineralogical investigations. The focus here is on the exact description of the structure , texture and mineral content . In some cases, methods of spectroscopy , e.g. B. Mößbauer spectroscopy in tin mining , already used in the field. The samples are then prepared in the laboratory: Thin sections or sections for polarization microscopy are produced in transmitted light or reflected light. Rocks are examined in transmitted light and ores in incident light . The rest of the sample material is ground to grain sizes smaller than 63 µm. X-ray fluorescence analysis is often used for the chemical analysis of the entire sample, while the microprobe or laser ablation mass spectrometry is used for point analyzes . The individual minerals are identified using diffraction methods such as X-ray diffraction or neutron diffraction . The bonding relationships in the mineral are examined using spectroscopic methods such as IR spectroscopy , Raman spectroscopy , electron spin resonance or nuclear magnetic resonance . The morphology of the minerals can be described in more detail using scanning electron microscopy . Defects in the crystal lattice can be made visible with transmission electron microscopy . In technical mineralogy, differential thermal analysis and thermogravimetry are often used to investigate the behavior and reactions of minerals during a heating process. The technical mineralogy and experimental petrology often make use of the crystal growth to synthetic models using natural materials to produce or to magmatic to simulate processes.



In the 2008/09 winter semester , the University of Mainz, the last German university , discontinued the independent diploma course in mineralogy. Since then, the mineralogy either a major in the Master -Studienganges Geosciences (for example, at the Technical University of Freiberg and University of Jena ) or a separate Master's program (Materials Science Mineralogy ( University of Bremen ), mineralogy and materials science ( University of Leipzig ) , Geomaterials and geochemistry ( Ludwig Maximilians University Munich and TU Munich in cooperation)). These are always consecutive courses that build on a Bachelor in Geosciences (at the University of Leipzig in Chemistry ). In addition to knowledge of the subject itself, the mineralogical degree courses also include the basics and mineralogically relevant special areas of mathematics ( group theory , statistics ), chemistry ( thermodynamics , kinetics , atomic models ), physics ( solid state physics ), materials science ( ceramics , glass , cement , crystal growing ), computer science ( Programming languages ) and geology ( tectonics , sedimentology , historical geology ). In German university policy, mineralogy is classified as a minor subject .

Occupational fields

Mineralogists mainly work in the raw material processing industry ( glass , ceramics , refractories , building materials , binders , stones and earth , chemical industry , abrasives , electronics , manufacture of optical components, paper industry ). In addition, there are also fields of activity in environmental protection , mining , in the fertilizer , pharmaceutical and jewelry industries , and in the preservation of monuments . In addition, the public service offers job opportunities in the form of universities , research institutes and authorities .

See also

Portal: Minerals  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of minerals


Web links

Wiktionary: Mineralogy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Mineralogy  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Oryktognosīe → Mineralogie In: Meyers Konversationslexikon
  2. see also August Nies : Zur Mineralogie des Pliny . H. Prickarts' printing press, 1884, full text on Archive.org
  3. Johannes Hiller, “Anselmus Boetius de Boodt as a scientist and natural philosopher (from the beginnings of mineralogical science”, Archeion 1933 (XV, 3-4), pp. 348-368
  4. Small compartments from A – Z. Locations: mineralogy. In: kleinefaecher.de. Small subjects portal, accessed April 19, 2019 .
  5. ↑ Fields of work of industrial mineralogists. (JPEG graphic, 786 × 490 pixels) (No longer available online.) University of Salzburg, archived from the original on January 31, 2012 ; accessed on September 23, 2019 .
  6. ^ Full text Archive.org