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What is mineralogy?

Large gypsum crystals in the Naica cave in Mexico
Large gypsum crystals in the Naica cave in Mexico

Mineralogy is the material science of naturally formed, mostly crystalline solids (minerals, rocks) covers also technical materials (glasses, raw materials) and, due to interaction with their environment, also fluids and gases. Depending on the focus, mineralogy is either part of Earth Sciences (environmental mineralogy, geochemistry, applied mineralogy) or part of chemistry (basic research, crystallography, material sciences).

Historically, mineralogy can be placed between mining, chemistry and physics, where the assessment, exploitation and processing of raw materials were of interest. A key point in the development of mineralogy was the improvement of analytical methods to explore equilibria between solids, melts and solutions. As a result mineralogy became the global science of the formation and evolution of rocks and of the distribution of chemical elements in the system Earth.

Today it is a material-oriented field of expertise, which investigates in the atomic structure, the physical and chemical parameters, and the conditions of formation, especially of solids. Here the main focus lies on process-orientated questions in the field of geological and material sciences, whereas mineralogy is closely linked to other natural sciences such as geology, geophysics, chemistry (e.g., solid-state chemistry, analytics, physical chemistry), and physics (e.g., nuclear physics, solid-state physics, metal physics, surface physics, magnetism, optics). Further connections can be made to the fields of biology and medicine (crystal structure investigations of biological objects and of mineralogical carrier of contaminants), as well as to astronomy and extraterrestrial physics, to chemical engineering, to mining and metallurgy, to data processing, and finally to archaeology (investigation of artefacts).

Large gypsum crystals in the Naica cave in Mexico
Large gypsum crystals in the Naica cave in Mexico

Research Focus

Here you find an overview of the research fields of the mineralogy and the research interest of the members of the mineralogy

Research Projects

Here you find current and completed research projects


Find out more about the members of the working group mineralogy


Several analytical methods are used in the mineralogy. Here we list the techniques available at the institute.


Here we list the publications of our members


The mineralogy group provides several teaching courses for Bachelor and Master students. More information can be found in the course catalog of the university.

The Mineralogical and Petrological Seminar will be held on Fridays at 12:15 pm in SS 2023.

Bachelor and Master theses

We offer topics from mineralogy as Bachelor and Master theses. Among them are: Synthesis of geoscientifically or technically relevant phases and textures, investigation of geochemical processes at high temperature and pressure under laboratory conditions, determination of properties of silicate glasses and melts, and the investigation of magmatic and metamorphic rocks.

If you are interested in conducting your thesis in mineralogy please contact Prof. Max Wilke.

New: At you can find more information about the institute. This is a jointly created knowledge database, in which findings can be accessed at any time and own experiences and knowledge can be deposited, so that everyone can benefit from it. Access data must be requested.


Since fall semester 2022/23, we offer the Master-Wahlpflicht-Modul "Experimental Mineralogy-Petrology" (GEW-MF22), reoccurring every fall and spring semester. 

Here, students perform high-pressure-/high-temperature laboratory experiments on minerals, glasses and rocks, which will help us to understand natural magmatic and metamorphic processes. Applying different analytical methods and giving short project-related talks will be also part of this course. 

A description of this module can be found in the current module catalogue (Vorlesungsverzeichnis).