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Minerals. Table of Contents. Minerals Mineral Identification Uses of Minerals Journals. Minerals. Chapter 17 Section 1. What is a mineral?. Minerals are inorganic, solid materials and an orderly arrangement of atoms. found in nature.

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Table of Contents

  • Minerals

  • Mineral Identification

  • Uses of Minerals

  • Journals


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Minerals

Chapter 17

Section 1


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What is a mineral?

  • Minerals are inorganic, solid materials and an orderly arrangement of atoms. found in nature.

    • Inorganic means they usually are not formed by plants or animals.

  • Each mineral has unique characteristics you can use to identify it.

  • About 4,000 different minerals are found on Earth, but they all share four major characteristics.


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Mineral Characteristics

  • All minerals are formed by natural processes.

    • These are processes that occur on or inside Earth with no input from humans.

  • Minerals are inorganic.

    • This means that they aren’t made by life processes.

  • Every mineral is an element or compound with a definite chemical composition.

  • Minerals are crystalline solids.

    • All solids have a definite volume and shape.

    • Only a solid can be a mineral, but not all solids are minerals.


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Is it a Mineral?

You can tell whether an object is a mineral by asking four questions.

  • Is it a nonliving material?

  • Is it a solid?

  • Does it have a crystalline structure?

  • Is it formed in nature?


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How do minerals form?

  • Minerals form in several ways.

  • One way is from melted rock material inside Earth called magma.

  • Evaporation can form minerals.

  • A process called precipitation can form minerals, too.

    • Water can hold only so much dissolved material. Any extra separates and falls out as a solid.


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Structure of Minerals

  • The word crystalline means that atoms are arranged in a pattern that is repeated over and over again.

  • A crystal is a solid in which the atoms are arranged in orderly, repeating patterns.

  • A crystal system is a group of crystals that have similar atomic arrangements and therefore similar external crystal shapes.


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Crystals

  • Not all mineral crystals have smooth surfaces and regular shapes.

  • There are six major crystal systems, which classify minerals according to their crystal structures.


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Crystals from Magma

  • Hot melted rock material, called magma, cools when it reaches Earth’s surface, or even if it’s trapped below the surface.

  • As magma cools, its atoms lose heat energy, move closer together, and begin to combine into compounds.


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Crystals from Magma

  • Atoms of the different compounds arrange themselves into orderly, repeating patterns.

  • The type and amount of elements present in magma partly determine which minerals will form.

  • When magma cools slowly, the crystals that form are generally large enough to see with the unaided eye.

  • When magma cools rapidly, the crystals that form will be small.


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Crystals From Solutions

  • Crystals also can form from minerals dissolved in water and the water evaporates.

  • Minerals can form from a solution without the need for evaporation if too much of a substance is dissolved in water.


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Earth’s Minerals

  • Ninety elements occur naturally in Earth’s crust. Approximately 98 percent (by weight) of the crust is made of only eight of these elements.


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Mineral Groups

  • Minerals are divided into two groups based on their chemical composition.

  • Silicate minerals are minerals that contain a combination of silicon, oxygen, and one or more metals.

    • Most of the common rock-forming minerals belong to a group called the silicates.

    • These two elements alone combine to form the basic building blocks of most of the minerals in Earth’s crust and mantle.

  • Non-silicate minerals are minerals that do not contain compounds of silicon and oxygen.


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    Mineral Identification

    Chapter 17

    Section 2


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    Properties of Minerals

    • Each mineral has a set of physical properties that can be used to identify it.

      • Pattern of atoms (crystals)

      • Cleavage or fracture

      • Color

      • Streak

      • Luster

      • Hardness

      • Specific Gravity


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    Crystals

    • The atoms making up the mineral are arranged in a repeating pattern.

    • Solid materials that have such a pattern of atoms are called crystals.


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    Cleavage and Fracture

    • The way a mineral breaks is another clue to its identity.

    • Minerals that split into pieces with smooth, regular planes that reflect light have cleavage

    • Not all minerals have cleavage.

    • Minerals that break into pieces with jagged or rough edges have fracture.


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    Color

    • Sometimes a mineral’s color can help you figure out what it is. But color also can fool you.

      • The common mineral pyrite has a shiny, gold color similar to real gold.

      • Because of this, pyrite also is called fool’s gold.

    • Minerals display a wide variety of colors, and often the same mineral can be found in many different colors.

    • Because of this, color is usually not the best way to identify a mineral.


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    Streak

    • Scraping a mineral sample across an unglazed, white porcelain tile, called a streak plate, produces a streak of color.

    • The streak is not necessarily the same color as the mineral itself.

    • The streak of powdered mineral is more useful for identification than the mineral’s color.


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    Streak FYI

    • The streak test works only for minerals that are softer than the streak plate.

      WHY?

    • Some soft minerals will leave a streak even on paper.

    • The last time you used a pencil to write on paper, you left a streak of the mineral graphite.


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    Luster

    • Luster describes how light reflects from a mineral’s surface.

    • If it shines like a metal, the mineral has metallic luster.

    • Nonmetallic minerals can be described as having pearly, glassy, dull, or earthy luster.

      • Terms for nonmetallic luster include dull, pearly, silky, and glassy.


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    Hardness

    • A measure of how easily a mineral can be scratched is its hardness.

    • Sometimes the concept of hardness is confused with whether or not a mineral will break.

    • It is important to understand that even though a diamond is extremely hard, it can shatter if given a hard blow in the right direction along the crystal.


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    Hardness

    • In 1824, Friedrich Mohs developed a way to classify minerals by their hardness.

    • The Mohs scale classifies minerals from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest).

    • You can determine hardness by trying to scratch one mineral with another to see which is harder.


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    Specific Gravity

    • Measuring specific gravity is another way you can identify minerals.

    • Specific gravity compares the weight of a mineral with the weight of an equal volume of water.

      • Pyrite—or fool’s gold—is about five times heavier than water. Pure gold is more than 19 times heavier than water.

  • Specific gravity is expressed as a number.


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    Density

    • Density is the measure of how much matter is in a given amount of space.

    • Density is a ratio of an object’s mass to its volume.

    • Different minerals have different densities.


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    Unique Properties

    • The mineral magnetite will attract a magnet.

    • The mineral calcite has two unusual properties.

      • It will fizz when it comes into contact with an acid like dilute HCl.

      • If you look through a clear calcite crystal, you will see a double image.


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    Mineral Making Rocks

    • Only a small number of the more than 4,000 minerals make up most rocks.

    • Most of the rock-forming minerals are silicates, which contain the elements silicon and oxygen.

      • More than half of the minerals in Earth’s crust are types of a silicate mineral called feldspar.

    • Another group of important rock-forming minerals are carbonates.

      • The carbonate mineral calcite makes up most of the common rock limestone.


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    Uses of Minerals

    Chapter 17

    Section 3


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    Gems

    • Gems or gemstones are minerals that are rare and can be cut and polished, giving them a beautiful appearance.

    • Gemstones are highly valued for their beauty and rarity, than for their usefulness.

    • Important gemstones include diamond, sapphire, ruby, emerald, aquamarine, and topaz.

    • Most gems are special varieties of a particular mineral.

    • To be gem quality, most minerals must be clear with few or no blemishes or cracks.


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    The Making of a Gem

    • One reason why gems are so rare is that they are formed under special conditions.

      • Diamond, for instance, is a form of the element carbon.

      • Scientists suggest that diamond forms deep in Earth’s mantle.

      • It takes a certain kind of volcanic eruption to bring a diamond close to Earth’s surface, where miners can find it.


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    The Cullinan diamond, found in South Africa in 1905, was the largest uncut diamond ever discovered.The Cullinan diamond was cut into 9 main stones and 96 smaller ones. The largest of these is called the Cullinan 1 or Great Star of Africa, and it is now part of the British monarchy’s crown jewels.

    Another well-known diamond is the blue Hope diamond. The Hope diamond has gained a reputation for bringing its owner bad luck.The Hope diamond’s mass is 45.52 carats (about 9 g). Currently, it is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

    Gem Stories

    All gems are prized, but some are truly spectacular and have played an important role in history.


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    Useful Gems largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

    • Diamonds

      • Diamonds have a hardness of 10 on Mohs scale. They can scratch almost any material—a property that makes them useful as industrial abrasives and cutting tools.

  • Quartz

    • Quartz crystals are used in electronics and as timepieces.

  • Rubies

    • Rubies are used to produce specific types of laser light.

  • Most industrial diamonds and other gems are synthetic, which means that humans make them.


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    Ores largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

    • A mineral is called an ore if it contains enough of a useful substance that it can be sold for a profit.

    • Ores of these useful metals must be extracted from Earth in a process called mining.

      • Iron used to make steel comes from the mineral hematite

      • Lead for batteries is produced from galena,

      • Magnesium used in vitamins comes from dolomite.


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    Ore Processing largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

    • After an ore has been mined, it must be processed to extract the desired mineral or element.

    • Smelting melts the ore and then separates and removes most of the unwanted materials.

    • After this smelting process, it can be refined, which means that it is purified.


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    Useful Elements in Minerals largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

    • Metallic minerals are good conductors of heat and electricity.

    • Nonmetallic Minerals are good insulators of electricity.

    • Iron, used in everything from frying pans to steel for ships, is obtained hematite.

    • Lead for batteries is produced from galena

    • Magnesium used in vitamins comes from dolomite.

    • Aluminum is refined from bauxite.


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    Minerals Containing Titanium largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

    • Under certain conditions, metallic elements can dissolve in fluids then travel through weaknesses in rocks and form mineral deposits.

    • Mineral deposits left behind fill in the open spaces are called vein mineral deposits.

    • Titanium is a durable, lightweight, metallic element derived from minerals that contain this metal in their crystal structures.

    • Two minerals that are sources of the element titanium are ilmenite and rutile.


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    Uses of Titanium largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

    • Titanium is used in automobile body parts, such as connecting rods, valves, and suspension springs.

    • Wheelchairs used by people who want to race or play basketball often are made from titanium.


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    Problems with Mining largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

    • Mining gives us the minerals we need, but it may also create problems.

    • Mining can destroy or disturb the habitats of plants and animals.

      • One way to reduce the potential harmful effects of mining is to return the land to its original state after the mining is completed.

      • The process by which land used for mining is returned to its original sate or better is called reclamation.

  • Waste products from a mine may get into water sources, which pollutes surface water and ground water.


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