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Minerals: Their Constitution and Origin

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Divided into six parts, the book covers a wide range of topics, from the classification of minerals and structure of crystals, to the physics of minerals and how they form in the natural environment
Emphasis is placed on linking minerals to broader geological processes, to show students the wider applications of mineral science
The authors convey the importance of minerals within our everyday lives and their economic value, illustrating the practical significance of mineralogy
New electronic resources include laboratory exercises and 3D crystal structures that can be manually rotated

By: Hans-Rudolf Wenk (Author), Andrei Bulakh (Author)

620 pages, 181 colour & 525 b/w illustrations, 100 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Oct 2016 | Edition: 2 | #223460 | ISBN-13: 9781107514041
Available for pre-order: Due Oct 2016 Details
NHBS Price: £44.99 $55/€51 approx
Hardback | Oct 2016 | Edition: 2 | #223459 | ISBN-13: 9781107106260
Available for pre-order: Due Oct 2016 Details
NHBS Price: £99.99 $122/€112 approx

About this book

The new edition of this popular textbook, once again, provides an indispensable guide for the next generation of mineralogists. Designed for use on one- or two-semester courses, this second edition has been thoughtfully reorganised, making it more accessible to students, whilst still being suitable for an advanced mineralogy course. Additions include expanded introductions to many chapters, a new introductory chapter on crystal chemistry, revised figures, and an extended plates section containing beautiful colour photographs. Text boxes include historical background and case studies to engage students, and end-of-chapter questions help them reinforce concepts. With new online resources to support learning and teaching, including laboratory exercises, PowerPoint slides, useful web links and mineral identification tables, this is a sound investment for students in the fields of geology, materials science and environmental science, and a valuable reference for researchers, collectors and anyone interested in minerals.

Reviews of the first edition:

"I think this book represents a sound undergraduate investment – a textbook that an undergraduate could visit and revisit throughout their degree programme, to remind them of the basics and, by following up the references, to provide a deeper understanding of the subjects covered."
– Chemistry World

"[...] [this] book provides a good coverage of minerals, with clear diagrams and photographs to supplement the text [...] there is much of value [...] the text is clear, and deeper treatments can be skipped, while still gaining knowledge of the wider range of mineralogy."
– OUGS Newsletter

"Wenk and Bulakh's Minerals is both authoritative and accessible, providing a thorough grounding in many aspects of modern mineralogy in a first-rate text."
– New Scientist

"[...] this is a refreshing new mineral textbook and is a wonderful resource to freshen up an undergraduate course. Every lecturer who teaches mineralogy and every earth sciences library should get a copy [...] Very highly recommended."
– Geological Magazine

Related titles

See the previous edition

Minerals: Their Constitution and Origin

Covers all aspects of mineralogy in an up-to-date and integrated style....

NHBS Price: £49.99 $61/€56 approx


Part I. Minerals as Chemical Compounds:
1. Subject and history of mineralogy
2. Elements, bonding, simple structures and ionic radii
3. Isomorphism, solid solutions and polymorphism
4. Chemical formulas of minerals
5. Classification and names of minerals
6. Mineral identification of hand specimens

Part II. Symmetry Expressed in Crystal Structures and Morphology:
7. The concept of a lattice and description of crystal structures
8. Crystal symmetries: point groups and space groups
9. Crystalline defects
10. Crystal growth and aggregation

Part III. Physical Investigations and Properties of Minerals:
11. Experimental approaches to crystal structures: X-ray diffraction
12. Physical properties
13. Optical properties of crystals
14. Mineral identification with the petrographic microscope
15. Colour
16. Advanced analytical methods
17. Mechanical properties and deformation

Part IV. Mineral-Forming Processes:
18. Mineral genesis
19. Considerations of thermodynamics
20. Phase diagrams

Part V. A Systematic Look at Mineral Groups:
21. Important information about silica materials. Their occurrence in granite and pegmatite
22. Simple compounds. Unusual mineral occurrences
23. Halides. Evaporite deposits
24. Carbonates and other minerals with triangular anion groups. Sedimentary origins
25. Phosphates, sulfates and related minerals. Apatite as a biogenic material
26. Sulfides. Hydrothermal processes
27. Oxides and hydroxides. Review of ionic crystals
28. Orthosilicates and ring silicates. Metamorphic mineral assemblages
29. Sheet silicates. Weathering of silicate rocks
30. Chain silicates. Discussion of some igneous and metamorphic processes
31. Framework silicates. Zeolites and ion exchange properties of minerals
32. Organic minerals

Part VI. Applied Mineralogy:
33. Metalliferous mineral deposits
34. Gemstones
35. Cement minerals
36. Minerals and human health
37. Mineral composition of the Solar System
38. Mineral composition of the Earth

Appendix 1. Metallic, submetallic and nonmetallic luster, sorted according to hardness
Appendix 2. Minerals that display some distinctive physical properties
Appendix 3. Rock-forming minerals that are coloured in thin section


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Hans-Rudolf Wenk is Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Since joining the Berkeley faculty, he has been engaged in teaching and research, covering a wide field of mineralogy, from feldspars to carbonates, metamorphic rocks to shales, and from the Earth's surface to the inner core. His particular focus has been on microstructures, investigated using electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays.

Andrey Bulakh is Professor in the Department of Mineralogy at St Petersburg State University. He is a specialist in mineralogy, geochemistry and the origin of alkaline rocks and carbonatites. More recently, he has studied the history of ornamental stones in architecture. He has written several books that are widely used at Russian universities, and was a long-time member of the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association.

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