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By: Stephen, Brian, and Nikko SES4U1. Minerals . Introduction to minerals. A mineral is a naturally occurring substance formed through geological processes. Scientists use four methods of determining if the substance is a mineral or not.

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introduction to minerals
Introduction to minerals
  • A mineral is a naturally occurring substance formed through geological processes.
  • Scientists use four methods of determining if the substance is a mineral or not.
is it a mineral

There are four questions scientists answer to determine if a substance is a mineral

1) Is the substance inorganic? If the substance contains elements that is not alive and never was, then it is a mineral.

2) Does the substance occur naturally? If it is manufactured, it is not a mineral.

3) Is the substance in solid crystalline form? Gases are can not be minerals.

4)Does the substance have a definite chemical composition? If yes, than the substance is a mineral

IS it a mineral ?
classification of minerals silicate
Classification of minerals Silicate
  • All silicate minerals contain atoms of Silicon (Si) and Oxygen.
  • Most Prominent Mineral in the Earth’s crust, as over 95% of the Earth’s crust is made up of Silicate


carbonates and sulfates
Carbonates and sulfates
  • Carbonates – They are prevalent in a marine setting, especially where the shells of dead planktonic life accumulate. This class of minerals also exist inevaporitic settings.
  • Sulfates- Like carbonates, Sulfates occur in a marine setting that is evaporitic. They occur in a hydrothermal environment such as water near the magma in the Earth’s crust.

Sulfate Mineral Barite

  • Oxides- These are the most important type of mineral, as this has the biggest impact on society. They form many ores that are extracted using mining methods, which provide with metal. This is important for everyday human use; as the economic implications such as materials for trucks needed for the trade of goods, and creating the jobs to extract and manufacture the ore.

An example of an oxide is Ice, since it is a solid, inorganic, and a chemical composition of oxygen.

native elements and sulfide
Native elements and sulfide


  • Native Elements – This group contains metals and intermetallic elements such as Gold, Silver, and Copper.
  • Sulfide- Compounds that consist of one or more elements that are combines with sulfur. Many sulfide minerals are economically important in the role of producing steel.
application of minerals
Application of minerals
  • Aluminum- Aluminum is used in situations where a light weight metal is needed, such as bicycles, cars and planes.
  • Cobalt– Used in alloys for jet engine parts, cutting tools and electrical devices.
application of minerals1
Application of minerals
  • Copper–Used in electric cables and wires and building construction, plumbing, heating and electrical and electronic components, industrial machinery and equipment, transportation, coins, and jewelry.
applications of minerals
Applications of minerals
  • Gold – Used in dentistry and medicine, in jewelry and art such as sculptures; in medallions and coins, for scientific and electronic instruments, computer circuitry.
  • Dietary Use – There are 16 minerals that are essential for human life; for example : iron, potassium, and sodium.
characteristics of minerals

Each mineral has specific properties that are a result of chemical composition and crystal structure. These properties are useful for comparing and identifying different minerals

Colour – Although not the most reliable method, different types of minerals have distinct colours.

Characteristics of minerals
characteristics of minerals1

Luster – Defined in the textbook as light being reflected from the surface of a mineral. Minerals that do not reflect light very well are known as non-mettalic.

Streak- A more reliable method of characterizing a mineral. This involves observing the colour of the mineral in powered form.

Cleavage and fracture- This is any cracks or splits in a certain mineral. This is called cleavage.

Characteristics of minerals
characteristics of minerals2

Hardness- This is a measure of the ability of a mineral to resist scratching . If a mineral can be easily split into cleavages and fractures, than the mineral is softer. The Mohs Hardness Scale determines the hardness of minerals on a scale of 1-10.

Density- Density of a mineral is how heavy a mineral is, compared to how big it is. The equation for density is Mass divided by volume.

Characteristics of minerals
impact and significance of minerals
Impact and significance of minerals
  • Economically- Creates jobs when a particular mineral is being mined or extracted; also manufacturing minerals into useful items creates jobs. Other economic implications branch from minerals; from the transportation to the sales of the final product of the mineral.
impact and significance of minerals1

Environmentally- Minerals are usually extracted from the earth via mining. Mining any particular mineral has an impact on the environment and leave an ecological footprint.

Firstly, Mining can cause water pollution. The result can be unnaturally high concentrations of some chemicals, such as sulfuric acid and mercury over a significant area of surface. Runoff of soil or rock debris also devastates the surrounding aqua life.

Impact and significance of minerals
impact and significance of minerals2

Secondly, mining can cause a loss of biodiversity. With the an establishment of any mining methods, animal life looses their habitat. Deforestation also occurs with mining, has in some cases trees need to be cut down in order to start mining.

Third of all, minerals can have negative effects on the enviroment. With humans use minerals for their own benefit, the environment can be polluted. This is evident when coal is being burned for electricity, greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere.

Impact and significance of minerals
what are minerals made up of

A mineral is composed of the same substance throughout. If you were to cut a mineral sample, it would look the same throughout. There are about 3000 different minerals in the world. Minerals are made of chemicals - either a single chemical or a combination of chemicals. There are 103 known chemical elements. Minerals are sorted into 8 categories. Some common examples have been listed for each below ;

  • Native elements: copper, silver, gold, nickel-iron, graphite, diamond
  • Sulfides : sphalerite, chalcopyrite, galena, pyrite
  • Halides : halite, fluorite
  • Oxides & Hydroxides: corundum, hematite
  • Nitrates, Carbonates, Borates : calcite, dolomite, malachite
  • Sulfates, Chromates, Molybdates, Tungstates ~ celestite, barite, gypsum
  • Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates : apatite, turquoise
  • Silicates ~ quartz, almandine garnet, topaz, jadeite, talc, biotite mica
What Are Minerals Made Up Of?
history of minerals

Mineralogy is the branch of geology concerned with the study of minerals. A mineral is a naturally occurring, homogeneous solid with a definite chemical composition and a highly ordered atomic structure. A homogeneous substance is one that can be divided into repeating units that are exactly the same.

A mineral, by definition, cannot be a liquid or a gas. The chemical composition of a mineral is definite, meaning a particular mineral is always composed of the same ratio of elements, and this composition can be shown using a chemical formula. The atoms in a mineral are arranged in a highly ordered fashion, called a crystal lattice structure.- Minerals have been an important part of our society since the time of prehistoric man. Early humans carved tools out of minerals such as quartz. Pottery has been made of various clays since ancient times. Sodium chloride, also known as the mineral halite, has been used in food preservation techniques for millions of years. Mining of useful minerals out of ores became widespread hundreds of years ago, a practice still in use today.

History of Minerals
mineral formation

Minerals form in all geologic environments and thus under a wide range of chemical and physical conditions, such as varying temperature and pressure. The four main categories of mineral formation are:

  • Igneous, or magmatic, in which minerals crystallize from a melt
  • Sedimentary, in which minerals are the result of the processes of weathering, erosion, and sedimentation
  • Metamorphic, in which new minerals form at the expense of earlier ones owing to the effects of changing—usually increasing—temperature or pressure or both on some existing rock type (metamorphic minerals are the result of new mineral growth in the solid state without the intervention of a melt, as in igneous processes)
  • Hydrothermal, in which minerals are chemically precipitated from hot solutions within the Earth.
Mineral formation
types of minerals


  • Color: is silvery-white.
  • Chemistry: Al
  • Aluminum is relatively strong (per unit of weight), as strong as steel although only about half as strong as titanium, which when combined with its low cost makes it a popular metal for building things from beer cans to lawn chairs to boats to airplanes. It is easy to manufacture since it is the second most malleable metal and the sixth most ductile - the only difficulty is in welding it.
Types of Minerals
types of minerals1


Chemistry: Au, Elemental gold

  • Color: is golden "butter" yellow
  • Gold is almost indestructible and has been used and then reused for centuries to the extent that all gold of known existence is almost equal to all the gold that has ever been mined. Gold is a great medium metal for jewellery, as it never tarnishes.
Types of Minerals