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What is a Mineral?. A mineral is a: Naturally occurring, Inorganic, Crystalline solid, That has a definite chemical composition. Some Minerals. What is a Rock?. A rock is a: Naturally formed, Consolidated material, Composed of grains of one or more minerals. Some Rocks.

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What is a Mineral?

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what is a mineral
What is a Mineral?
  • A mineral is a:
    • Naturally occurring,
    • Inorganic,
    • Crystalline solid,
    • That has a definite chemical composition.
what is a rock
What is a Rock?
  • A rock is a:
    • Naturally formed,
    • Consolidated material,
    • Composed of grains of one or more minerals.
mineral characteristics
Mineral Characteristics
  • Minerals are classified based on their physical properties and chemical properties.
how do we identify minerals
How Do We Identify Minerals?
  • We identify minerals using physical properties of:
    • Color and streak
    • Luster
    • Hardness
    • Cleavage
    • Fracture
color and streak
Color and Streak
  • Color is the first thing that most people notice about minerals.
    • Color is a useful property but many minerals are found in a variety of colors.
  • Streak is the pulverized color of a mineral.
    • Streak is determined by scraping the sample across a porcelain plate.
  • Luster is the quality and intensity of the light that is reflected from the surface of a mineral.
  • Luster is described as metallic or non-metallic.
    • Non-metallic is more common, most importantly is glassy.
    • Earthy luster is uncommon but appears silky, or pearly.
  • Hardness is a minerals resistance to being scratched, or the “scratchability” of a mineral.
    • In order for a mineral to scratch another it must be harder.
    • Frederich Mohs made up a scale, called the Mohs Scale, to compare hardness.
  • Cleavage is the tendency of a mineral to break along one or more smooth, flat, lustrous surfaces.
    • Cleavage is described as perfect, good, or poor.
    • Different minerals have different planes of cleavage.
      • Examples: mica has one perfect plane, halite has three perfect planes
  • Fracture is the way a mineral breaks other than cleaving.
    • Fracture is an irregular break pattern
    • Fracture can be described as uneven, conchoidal (shell-like), splintery, earthy (like clay)
formation of minerals
Formation of Minerals

All minerals are crystalline, ,made of atoms arranged in a pattern.

Crystals are minerals with geometric shapes and smooth flat surfaces called faces.

Each kind of mineral has its own crystal shape and will develop into this form if it has room to grow w/o restrictions.

6 basic crystal systems
6 Basic Crystal Systems
  • Cubic
  • Hexagonal
  • Orthorhombic
  • Monoclinic
  • Tetragonal
  • Triclinic
chemical composition
Chemical Composition
  • All minerals are made of elements and some minerals can be identified by their special chemical composition.
  • Some minerals are made up of only one element (such as gold, copper, sulfur).
  • Most minerals are made of compounds, two or more elements chemically combined.
chemical composition silicates
Chemical Composition - Silicates
  • Silicates are the most common minerals and are combinations of silicon and oxygen with other elements.
  • Examples are quartz, feldspar, mica and hornblende.
chemical composition carbonates
Chemical Composition - Carbonates
  • Carbonates are minerals which are compounds of 1 carbon atom and 3 oxygen atoms.
  • Examples are calcite and dolomite.




Calcite Color Varieties

chemical composition oxides and sulfides
Chemical Composition – Oxides and Sulfides
  • In an oxide, the mineral iron combines with oxygen.
    • Example is magnetite
  • In a sulfide, the mineral iron combines with sulfur.
    • Example is pyrite (fool’s gold)
oxides and sulfides
Oxides and Sulfides

Magnetite (Lodestone) and Pyrite (Fool’s Gold)

structure of minerals
Structure of Minerals
  • Structure refers to the arrangement of the atoms in a mineral.
  • Silicon and oxygen, the most common elements in the Earth’s crust, combine chemically to form a structural unit in the shape of a tetrahedron (a four-sided solid triangle)