Your adoptive mineral is assigned from a list at the beginning of class, and is the subject of a short term paper.
1. Paper Structure:
This is a professional paper and should strongly resemble the papers you are reading in the peer- reviewed literature about your mineral and related minerals.
1) Title Page showing the title of the paper, student name and date submitted.
The second page should repeat title and student name, and start of the body of the text.
2) Abstract: The abstract, only a few sentences (200-400 words), should clearly summarize the main conclusions of the paper in a concise fashion.
3) Introduction, which introduces the mineral and its mineral group and discusses its importance (e.g. historical, mineralogical, scientific, economic, etc.), providing background knowledge the reader needs to understand in the later sections.
4) Composition of the mineral or mineral group, and how was it determined.
5) Structure of the mineral. Here it will help to use clearly labeled diagrams. This section should clearly show the type of structure, the arrangement of the ions, the types of bonding, solid solution and/or exsolution (if any) occurs in the structure, any unique properties of the atomic arrangement, and be a reasonably complete description of the atomic structure of the mineral.
6) Physical Properties of the mineral or mineral group. For each property or group of properties discussed, be sure to relate them as much as possible to the mineral structure, as discussed in the prior section.
7) Geologic Occurrence, what related minerals occur with it, tectonic significance. What geologic processes lead to its formation.
8) Special characteristics. This includes any historical importance, or political significance. It should be clear from your paper what these are. Internet references may be used sparingly in this section if there is no way to avoid them.
9) Where in the world: These minerals were chosen because they were named after some place, usually a locality where the mineral is found. I want to see at least a few sentences describing the area, its geologic setting, and how that mineral occurs in that region. Internet references are allowed in this section.
10) Literature Survey. Part of the importance of the paper is the compilation of a key set of references. General references, such as textbooks, are fine. However, it is necessary to include references to work in the scientific literature (showing some familiarity with the important mineralogical journals), particularly relatively recent and well-cited studies.
Use the internet to inform yourself and to find sources, but do not use it as a source. Keep in mind that there is no review of most internet data, thus you should never rely heavily on internet references in formal writing.
An assessment of the references cited plays an important role in assigning a grade to the term
paper. I want to know what the most highly cited references on each mineral are and what they say. References should be given in full and should be in the format used by the journal American Mineralogist.
11) Prospects for further investigation.. If the literature on the mineral is very old or non-existent for the following analyses:
– Composition: Electron microprobe (more than 10 years old)
– Structure: Single crystal, powder or TEM methods (more than 30 years old) – Trace element content (ICP-MS)
then we have the instruments here to conduct further investigations.
However, if the mineral is so rare that few specimens exist, it may be difficult to procure a sample. Try to find an academic, museum, or commercial source for the mineral. If it appears possible to find, then further measurements might be possible.
12) Bibliography. References should be the ones actually cited in the text and only those. You may use internet references for two purposes only: 1) As a source for photos and diagrams about your mineral. 2) As a source for non-geologic information about your mineral such as uses, the origin of the name, historical or political significance, and so forth.
2. Formatting will follow the guidelines of the journal American Mineralogist http://www.minsocam.org/msa/ammin/instructions.html with the exception that Figures and Tables should be integrated into the text with captions.
Length: 6 pages text, double spaced, 12-point font, plus figures/tables and references
1) Referencing must be in American Mineralogist style, as specified in class.
All statements of fact must be traceable to a reference (except in the abstract portion), and all references must include complete information. All references in the bibliography must actually be used in the text, and all citations in the text must appear in the bibliography.
2) All Figures must be numbered, captioned, with sources, and must be referred to in the text. Figures must be legible and not too large (~ MB), as this makes for huge files that choke the system. You must have at least one figure.
3) Style must be scientific. This means: no colloquial usage, a formal tone, though mild humor is allowed (encouraged). Most sentences are generally a declarative statement followed by a citation.
Example: “Orthopyroxene is an orthorhombic mineral (Hess 1934; Deer, 1966)”.
It is important to vary the sentence structure to follow the logic of the paper and keep it interesting. Excess verbiage will be stiffly penalized.
Recommendation: “The Elements of Style”, William Strunk and E. B. White. Except for the ban on the passive voice (ubiquitous in science), it is a very good philosophical guide to good writing.
4) The first person (‘I’, ‘we’) is only used to refer to scientific results or interpretations of the authors themselves (i.e., your original contribution). The second person (‘you’), referring to the reader directly, is never ever used.
5) Organization is extremely important. Do not put information from the main bodyof the paper into the introduction, structure data in the composition section, and so forth. Subject headings are obligatory.
6) Highly cited papers and recent papers or any papers in Nature or Science should be noted in a final section on your literature search. Is this mineral involved in a scientific controversy? Is or was it a “hot topic”? If anybody wrote a highly cited paper (rule of thumb – any paper with more citations than references), then what was it about and why was it cited so often.
7) Direct quotes are never used in scientific writing.
8) Introduction: This is the section people have the most difficulty with. An introduction does not repeat information that belongs in another section, such as the detailed composition or structure. Start with something general, in many cases a mineral group that is interesting/special/valuable.
Example: “The garnet group is one of the main rock forming mineral groups, occurring in igneous, metamorphic and even sedimentary rocks, and having economic importance as abrasives. Among that group, the Yttrium Aluminum Garnets (YAG) are a man-made mineral used extensively in the production of lasers. These garnet form a composition series limited only by the extent of solid solution, but with a very narrow useful compositional range (Ref). These are called…”
So, moving from the general to the specific, you end the “Introduction” by naming your mineral with its formula and sometimes with related minerals.
9) Most common errors:
Introduction is just a list of facts.
Introduction is a restatement or copy of abstract.
Introduction (or abstract) contains details that belong in later sections.
Structure or composition information is out of place.
First use of names of other minerals don’t say what they are: always give at least the formula of an unusual mineral the first time it is used.
Lack of references. Every paragraph should have multiple references.
Over-reliance on a single source. If you find yourself using the same ref over and over, you haven’t done your homework.
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