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CODE 84449
SEMESTER 2° Semester
Propedeuticità in ingresso
Per sostenere l'esame di questo insegnamento è necessario aver sostenuto i seguenti esami:
Propedeuticità in uscita
Questo insegnamento è propedeutico per gli insegnamenti:
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL SCIENCES 9916 (coorte 2021/2022)
  • PETROGRAPHY 84449 2021



The teaching describes the interior of the Earth, thus providing knowledge of igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic petrogenesis. Having acquired the tools to use the genetic criterion to distinguish the 3 main groups of rocks, the program includes the classification diagrams to give the correct nomenclature to the rocks.

The classroom exercises on collection rocks are designed to demonstrate, make understand and apply the procedure of analysis of a rock. The integration of the different steps leads to the name of the rock using scientifically robust diagrams.

Another specific training objective for the natural sciences is the understanding of the engines of the lithospheric dynamics, of the relationship between the textures of the rocks, and their evolution in the endogenous and / or exogenous cycle. Students should be able to discuss the relevance to the different petrogenetic environments using the textures, the mineralogical composition and where possible the chemical one.

Finally, the educational goal of teaching is to equip the students with the tools to recognize and know how to decipher a rock by giving it the correct name, to follow profitably the lessons of Earth Sciences of the third year, closely connected and consequent.


Lectures in the classroom. Lectures are delivered through power point presentations and website consultations.

Practise. The practical exercises are based on demo analysis and discussions on the specimens of the DISTAV rock education collection. The rock samples are discussed one to one and if necessary with the aid of a 3D projector.

The indoor exercises take place in classrooms equipped with microscopes and specific lighting. Students are required to equip themselves with a 10x lens and a steel tip to perform the so-called scratch test (relative micro-hardness).

Educational excursions in significant areas of the geology of Liguria (Apennine and alpine areas), to apply the classification criteria for rocks exposed in class, and to learn to return geolithological data in paper.



References to the constitution and structure of the Earth.

Overview of global tectonics. Endogenous and exogenous dynamics.

Petrogenetic processes:

a) The magmatic process: the magma definition property, genesis of the spindles. Dynamics of the spindles in the crust. The solidification of the spindles in the crust. Magmatic crystallization.

b) Sedimentary process: alteration, ablation, transport, precipitation, diagenesis.

c) Metamorphic process: recrystallization. The thermodynamic factors and limits of metamorphism.

Magmatic rocks

Outline of petrology of the magmatic process: molten and magma - chemical and physical properties. Genesis and solidification: the crystallization of silicate spindles. Binary status diagrams. Application of state diagrams to natural systems. Evolution of magmas; fractional crystallization; differentiation trends; miscibility and immiscibility; assimilation.

Solidification environment; nucleation and growth rate. The principles of classification of magmatic rocks.

The magmatic series. Variation diagrams. Relationship between magmatic seriality and geodynamic environments.

The sedimentary rocks

Classification of sedimentary rocks in relation to deposition modalities and compositional characters. Environmental significance and sedimentary sequences.

Overview of pedology.

The metamorphic rocks

Factors of metamorphism. Control factors and kinetic factors. Role of time. Types of metamorphism and crustal setting. Metamorphic recrystallization. Metamorphic reactions and their kinetics. Reversibility. Chemography of reactions - paragenesis. Recrystallization and deformation. Textures of metamorphic rocks.

Representation of reactions in the P-T field. Stability of phases and paragenetic associations. The metamorphic facies. Geothermal gradients and series of facies. Metamorphism and geotectonics.

Practical lessons on magmatic rocks

Methods of identification of rocks: structure, mineralogical composition, chemical composition.

The minerals of magmatic rocks: structural and chemical characters. Macroscopic and microscopic recognition, equilibrium relations with the spindles. Intrusive, effusive, sub-volcanic rocks. Structures and textures of magmatic rocks. Classification of magmatic rocks.

Practical lessons on metamorphic rocks

The minerals of metamorphic rocks: structural and chemical characters. Macroscopic and microscopic recognition. Structures and textures of metamorphic rocks.

Practical lessons on sedimentary rocks

Macroscopic recognition of textural and mineralogical characters. Classification methods.


Klein & Philpots - Mineralogia e petrografia. Zanichelli Editore

Morbidelli L. – Le rocce e I loro costituenti. Bardi Editore

Winter J.D. - An introduction to igneous and metamorphic petrology - Prentice Hall

Available (by download from Aula WEB) the Power Point slides used during lessons.


Exam Board



ROBERTO CABELLA (President Substitute)



From March 1, 2021. Consult the site of the study course for updates.

Class schedule




The attending student can take the exam by means of three written tests and three identification tests for rocks during the semester. At the end of the lessons, the final interview to confer the vote is based on the summary of any deficiencies found and any further information. The vote is based on that of the three checks, but it is not necessarily the arithmetic average of these.

The student can alternatively register for exam sessions during the year. The examination consists in i) classification of a sample of rock subjected to the moment ii) three questions on the igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic processes iii) a question on the land exercises.


The three in itinere  written tests are judged based on logical consequence, appropriate use of technical-scientific language, ability to apply what has been learned in the classroom.

The interview at the end of the lessons tends to ascertain whether the student's preparation is consolidated compared to the previous weeks and whether the student has consciously bridged the lack of knowledge that eventually emerged in the written tests.

The whole of oral test aims at verifying, through questions from simple to complex, the depth and correctness of knowledge (notions), the ability to organize them in a rational scheme, the ability to take advantage of the preparatory knowledge of Inorganic Chemistry and Mineralogy, the ability to correlate topics.

A sufficient mark corresponds to the ability to classify a rock (magmatic, sedimentary or metamorphic) with the correct nomenclatural criteria, motivating its application.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
26/01/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
16/02/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
22/06/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
13/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
27/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
14/09/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale


Regular attendance is strongly recommended especially for field exercises. Students must provide appropriate clothing for hiking (boots) and magnifying glass.