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MINERALS. Gypsum crystals: Naica Mountain, MX. What is a mineral?. Naturally Occurring Inorganic Solid Specific Chemical Composition Characteristic Crystal Structure Regular geometric arrangement of atoms. Mineral Properties. Crystal form/Growth habit Luster Hardness Specific Gravity

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Gypsum crystals: Naica Mountain, MX

what is a mineral
What is a mineral?
  • Naturally Occurring
  • Inorganic Solid
  • Specific Chemical Composition
  • Characteristic Crystal Structure
    • Regular geometric arrangement of atoms
mineral properties
Mineral Properties
  • Crystal form/Growth habit
  • Luster
  • Hardness
  • Specific Gravity
  • Streak
  • Cleavage
  • Fracture
  • Color
  • Other Properties
crystal form growth habit
Crystal Form/Growth Habit
  • Shape that occurs when a mineral grows freely
  • Acicular – needle-like
  • Globular – hemispherical masses
  • Fibrous – extremely slender prisms
  • Octahedral – eight sided
  • Radiating – radiating outward from a central point 
  • A description of the way light interacts with the surface of a crystal or mineral
  • Metallic: This has a shiny surface, resembling polished metal. Reflective.
  • Non-metallic: This as a surface that does not shine or reflect light well.
  • A measure of how much a mineral resists being scratched.
  • We use Mohs scale of hardness to rate the hardness of minerals.
  • Devised by German mineralogist, Frederich Mohs
  • Scale is arbitrary

FOR THIS LAB: You can use the following materials and the list of the hardnesses of them to determine hardness for each mineral.

specific gravity sg
Specific Gravity (SG)
  • The ratio of the density of a given solid or liquid substance to the density of water at a specific temperature and pressure, typically at 4°C (39°F) and 1 atm (14.7 psi).
  • Value is dimensionless, there are no units
  • The color of the powder left when scratched across a porcelain plate
  • Description of how a mineral breaks
  • To determine what is a cleavage plane look for the following:
    • A smooth break along a crystal plane
    • A reproducible face—the mineral is broken along the same faces multiple times in one sample
  • Describe cleavage using: perfect, imperfect, good, distinct, indistinct, and poor
  • If there is no plane of weakness, then the breaks will not be the same
  • Conchoidal fracture swirls
  • Non-Conchoidal fracture has no pattern
what s the difference between cleavage and fracture
What’s the difference between cleavage and fracture?
  • Cleavage: breakage along planes of atomic weakness within a crystal. Look for a distinct “pattern” of breakage. Don’t confuse breakage pattern with crystal form (how it grows).
  • Fracture: Irregular breakage displayed by minerals with uniform atomic arrangement.
color occasionally distinctive but can be deceiving
Color (Occasionally distinctive, but can be deceiving)

Hey look five different minerals! Wrong, all calcite

other properties
Other Properties
  • Reacts with Acid
  • Salty
  • Magnetic
  • Labradorescence