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Minerals Natural Solid Inorganic Definite chemical composition Crystal structure due to internal arrangement of atoms http://www.minerals.net/gemstone/index.htm



General Facts about Minerals: 

General Facts about Minerals Between 2 - 3,000 have been identified A few are “native elements” -- made of only one element, such as sulfur, gold. copper, and graphite (carbon) Most are compounds, especially the silicate group (Si, O). Other important groups are oxides, carbonates, and sulfides.

Less than a dozen are common in most rocks: 

Less than a dozen are common in most rocks Quartz Feldspar (group) Muscovite (white mica) Biotite (black mica) Calcite Pyroxene Olivine Amphibole (group) Magnetite, limonite, and other iron oxides Pyrite

Common uses include:: 

Common uses include: Aluminum--packaging, transport, building Beryllium--gemstones, fluorescent lights Copper--electric cables, wires, switches Feldspar--glass and ceramics Iron--buildings, automobiles, magnets Calcite--toothpaste, construction http://www.mii.org/commonminerals.php

Minerals are identified by their key characteristics: 

Minerals are identified by their key characteristics hardness crystal shape (form) luster color streak cleavage/fracture density (specific gravity) special properties --reaction to acid --fluorescence --salty taste --magnetism

Mineral Hardness: 

Mineral Hardness Ability to scratch another mineral Mohs scale from 1 (talc) to 10 (diamond) Quartz (most common mineral and most dust particles) is 7 http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/elements/diamond/diamond.htm

Crystal Shape (Form): 

Crystal Shape (Form) External structure due to internal arrangement of the atoms Six basic groups of shapes, with about three dozen variations http://www.minerals.net/mineral/carbonat/aragonit/aragoni1.htm


Luster Describes how light reflects off the surface Main categories are “metallic” and “non-metallic” Non-metallic includes “dull,” glassy,” waxy,” “pearly,” and othershttp://www.minerals.net/mineral/sulfides/pyrite/pyrite2.htm http://www.minerals.net/mineral/sulfides/pyrite/pyrite2.htm


Color results from ability to absorb some wavelengths and reflect others some minerals have characteristics colors others vary due to chemical differences or impurities (atoms mixed inside the main elements) http://www.minerals.net/mineral/carbonat/calcite/images/4assortd.htm


Streak Color of the powder when rubbed on a “streak plate” (unglazed porcelain) May be same as hand-specimen or different Some paint is based on powdered minerals (streaks). http://www.minerals.net/mineral/oxides/hematite/hematit6.htm

Mineral cleavage/fracture: 

Mineral cleavage/fracture Some minerals split along flat surfaces when struck hard--this is called mineral cleavage Other minerals break unevenly along rough or curved surfaces--this is called fracture A few minerals have both cleavage and fracture

Density (Specific Gravity): 

Density (Specific Gravity) All minerals have density (mass / volume), but some are very dense Examples include galena, magnetite, and gold Specific Gravity is the density of the mineral compared with density of water http://www.minerals.net/mineral/elements/gold/gold1.htm

Special Characteristics-- the “Acid Test”: 

Special Characteristics-- the “Acid Test” Carbonates react with dilute HCl and other acids by fizzing or bubbling (releasing CO2 gas)

Special Characteristics-- Fluorescence: 

Special Characteristics-- Fluorescence Some minerals will glow when placed under short-wave or long-wave ultraviolet rays Franklin and Ogdensburg NJ are famous for their fluorescent minerals http://www.sterlinghill.org/Tour%20information.htm

Special Characteristics-- Salty Taste: 

Special Characteristics-- Salty Taste DO NOT TASTE MOST MINERALS! Halite is the exception--it will taste salty http://mineral.galleries.com/scripts/item.exe?LIST+Minerals+Halides+Halite

Special Characteristics-- Magnetism: 

Special Characteristics-- Magnetism Many iron minerals will produce an invisible magnetic force field “Lodestone” was used by Vikings more than 1,000 years ago as compasses http://www.minerals.net/mineral/oxides/magnetit/magneti4.htm

Useful Web Sites: 

Useful Web Sites www.mii.org www.mineral.galleries.com/minerals www.mineral.net www.usgs.gov

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