Microscope image of tin ore under crossed polars

GeoLab consortium develops teaching collection

The new Irish GeoLab collection, created in a collaboration of four Irish Universities (UCC, TCD, NUIG and UCD) and the OU, has reached 67 samples after we combined it with the Trinity College Collection. The collection will be used by the consortium in their undergraduate teaching, embedded in teaching materials and combined other material. While some of the details of the rocks and the associated learning materials are available only within the consortium, the collection of samples its self is openly available to anyone wanting to use it.

This set of samples contains some great student teaching examples and a recent experiment to create reflected light ore mineralogy sections. Take a look at the ore samples in this collection, thin sections include transmitted and reflected light, both light types with plane polarised and crossed polars, something we’ve not tried before. The results using reflected light and crossed are amazingly colourful (see the figure of Tin ore in reflected light between crossed polars) and a revalation to anyone who has only ever looked at thin sections of transmitted light.