5 Defining Characteristics Of A Mineral

By | July 30, 2023

5 Defining Characteristics Of A Mineral – Even geologists find it difficult to see minerals. There are more than 4,000 known minerals, and about 80-100 new ones are discovered each year. Of all these, only a few hundred are considered normal.

To aid in identification, geologists must carefully consider the physical properties of minerals. These properties may include: color, band, hardness, cleavage, specific gravity, crystal form, and more.

5 Defining Characteristics Of A Mineral

5 Defining Characteristics Of A Mineral

Some minerals can be identified by their color: azurite is always blue and malachite is green. In general, color alone is not the best identification tool because color can vary greatly. Some minerals can appear in different colors due to impurities in the chemical composition of the mineral. For example, calcite is usually white, but can be blue, brown, yellow, orange, red, gray to black, or colorless.

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Luster refers to the shine of light from the surface of a mineral. The main types of glitter are metallic and non-metallic. Some of the most important non-metallic polishers are:

The streak test is performed by rubbing minerals on a porcelain plate, also called a streak plate. The color of the band left by the mineral is sometimes different from the color of the mineral itself. The streak test is useful when identifying minerals such as hematite. Hematite can be found in various colors from black to red, but it always leaves a red streak.

Hardness is a measure of a mineral’s resistance to wear. The numerical value of hardness is determined using a scale from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). Developed by the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, the Mohs hardness scale assigns hardness values ​​to 10 representative minerals and other common objects (pens, knives, etc.). Talc is a soft mineral and diamond is a very hard mineral.

Cleavage can be seen in minerals that tend to break in one or more areas or planes. The number of cleavage planes and their relative positions can be diagnostic of certain minerals. Minerals that show cleavage include: calcite, halite, fluorite, topaz and galena. However, not all minerals have cleavage, such as quartz and pyrite.

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Specific gravity is the relative weight of a mineral with an equal volume of water. For example, gold has a specific gravity of 15-19.3 and is therefore 15 to 19.3 times heavier than water. It is possible to make a good estimate of specific gravity by looking at the weight of the mineral in your hand.

The crystal form is responsible for the geometry of the mineral and the arrangement of the crystal faces. The crystal form will remain the same in all specimens of the same mineral found, although the crystal form is better displayed in some specimens than others. Sometimes, growth patterns, called mineral habit, hide the proper crystal shape. However, these habits can also help in identification. Other commonly found patterns include: botryoid (grape-like), striate (parallel lines on the surface of the crystal), and acicular (needle-like).

When carbonates (especially calcite) are treated with cold, dilute hydrochloric acid, they will foam, foam and explode and release carbon dioxide gas. When sulfides such as galena, pyrite, and sphalerite are treated with dilute hydrochloric acid, they will give off a rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide.

5 Defining Characteristics Of A Mineral

Some minerals, such as calcite, gypsum, halite, uranium minerals, and fluorite, will emit bright colors when viewed with ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is usually invisible to the human eye and you should avoid looking directly into the UV source as it can damage your eyes.

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After viewing and noting these mineral structures, you can take your information to a book or online resource. Start with my chart of rock-forming minerals, as these are the most common and the ones you should read first. Each mineral name is associated with a beautiful picture and notes to help confirm identification. If your mineral has a metallic luster, go to my Minerals with Metallic Luster gallery to see the most likely minerals in this group. Studying rocks and minerals gives students a deeper understanding of the story behind the natural preserves in our national parks.

Rocks and minerals are all around us! They help us develop new technologies and use them in our daily lives. Our uses for stones and minerals include construction materials, cosmetics, automobiles, roads and electronics. To maintain a healthy life and strengthen the body, people need to consume minerals every day. Rocks and minerals play an important role in ecosystems such as providing habitat such as the cliffs in Grand Canyon National Park where endangered condors live or providing nutrients to the soil in the Redwoods where the world’s tallest trees grow.

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Rocks and minerals are important for learning about Earth’s materials, structures, and systems. The study of these natural objects involves an understanding of earth science, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. A student may walk away with an understanding of crystal geometry, the ability to visualize 3-D objects, or knowledge of levels of crystallization.

Natural materials, such as rocks and minerals, contribute to the beauty and wonder of national parks and should be left, as found, for others to experience.

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In investigating the behavior of magma, students simulate minerals that cool in different amounts and examine rock samples. Student work, grades 4-8. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

In the early 1900s N. L. Bowen determined that different minerals crystallize at different temperatures during magma cooling. This table shows the reaction rates. Source: Trista L. Thornberry-Ehrlich, Colorado State University. [273 KB JPEG]

A rock cycle diagram showing the related geologic processes in which three types of rock are found: sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. [163 KB JPG]

5 Defining Characteristics Of A Mineral

Learn about the oldest rocks found in the parks that range from 3 to 600 billion years old. NATURALLY OCCURRING: FORMATION OF CHRIST: Minerals from nature. Minerals were never alive. A mineral contains certain chemicals that are unique to that mineral. It is not a liquid or a gas. The atoms of a mineral are arranged in a specific pattern that is unique to that mineral. INORGANIC: Click the animation above DEFINITE CHEM COMP: SOLID:

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The most common elements found in the Earth’s crust are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron and calcium. Elements form minerals. There are about known minerals. Only about 30 are common. The most common are quartz, feldspar, mica and calcite.

Quartz, mica, feldspar and calcite make up most of the rocks found in the Earth’s crust. Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. Most rocks are made of one or more minerals.

2. Rain, as when water rich in minerals evaporates. (Example: Salt crystals) 3. Changes in pressure and temperature. 4. Hydrothermal solutions. Look

SILICATES The most common group of minerals. It is combined with silicon and oxygen. They make up 90% of the earth’s crust. Feldspar and quartz are part of this group.

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Rocks And Minerals

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS Commensal elements are minerals that are composed of one element. Some examples are: gold (Au), silver (Ag), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), diamond (C), graphite (C) and platinum (Pt). Some Common Metal Images Courtesy of USGS Gold Silver Image Thanks to USGS Elements like iron, aluminum, and silicon are rarely, if ever, found in the native environment because they are so reactive and form compounds with other elements.

OXIDES The oxide group of minerals is composed of oxygen and iron. Other common oxides include hematite and magnetite.

CARBONATES The carbonate group of minerals is made up of the carbonate compound CO3. Other common carbonates are calcite and dolomite.

5 Defining Characteristics Of A Mineral

Halides include the halogen elements chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), fluorine (F) and iodine (I) that form strong ionic bonds with alkaline and earth elements sodium (Na) , calcium (Ca) and potassium (K). Other examples include Halite (NaCl) and Fluorite (CaF2). Fluorite image courtesy of USGS

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SULPATES Image of Barite Courtesy of USGS Sulfates are minerals consisting of anionic SO4 groups bonded to alkaline earth and metal cations. Anhydrous (without water) and aqueous (water) are the two main groups of sulfates. Barite (BaSO4) is an example of an anhydrous sulfate, and Gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) is an example of a sulfate. Gypsum image courtesy of USGS

SULPHIDE Pyrite “Gool’s Gold” Copyright © Dr. Richard Bush Sulfides are minerals composed of one or more metals combined with sulfur. Most sulfides are economically important metals. Pyrite (FeS2) or “fool’s gold”, galena (PbS), cinnabar (HgS), and molybdenite (MoS2) are a few common sulfide minerals. Cinnabar photo courtesy of USGS

15 Identifying Minerals Remember!: Rarely is a mine identified in one place. These properties must be considered together for proper mineral identification. To be able to identify these and other minerals, we need to look at the properties used to separate and classify these minerals.

Physical properties: color, luster, crystal shape Physical properties: refraction, hardness, specific gravity, fibers Special properties: effervescence, magnetism, fluorescence, phosphorescence, birefringence

Chapter 2: Earth Materials

17 Color Color is a mineral that is easily identified and rarely used! Many minerals can have the same color

18 Color Many minerals can change color due to contamination or can change color under various conditions. For example, pure quartz