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Earth Science 2.3

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Earth Science 2.3

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  1. Earth Science 2.3 • Properties of Minerals

  2. Properties Minerals • As you can see from the illustration at right, minerals occur in many different shapes and colors. • 8 main characteristics are used to identify and differentiate mineral groups from each other • Color • Streak • Luster • Crystal form • Hardness • Cleavage • Fracture • Density

  3. Color • While color can be an identifying factor in some types of minerals, this property is often not useful for identifying minerals. • This is because small amounts of different elements can give the same mineral different colors.

  4. Streak • Streak is the color of a mineral in it’s powdered form • Streak is obtained by rubbing a mineral across a streak plate, a piece of unglazed porcelain. • While the color of a mineral may vary from sample to sample, the streak usually doesn’t vary. • Therefore streak can be a good indicator to differentiate between mineral groups.

  5. Luster • Luster is used to describe how light is reflected from the surface of a mineral • Minerals that have the appearance of metals, regardless of their color, are said to have a metallicluster. • Minerals with nonmetallic lusters are described by a variety of names: vitreous or glassy, pearly, silky, earthy, brilliant. • Materials that fall in between can be said to have a sub-metallic luster Metallic lusters Glassy translucent luster

  6. Crystal Form • Crystal Form is the visible expression of a mineral’s internal arrangement of atoms. • Every mineral has a crystal form based off one of six distinct crystal systems

  7. Crystal Form • Usually, when a mineral forms slowly and without space restrictions, it will develop into a crystal with well-formed sides. • When the mineral is crowded in it’s growth however, it results in an intergrown mass of smaller crystals.

  8. Hardness • Hardness is one of the most useful properties used to differentiate between mineral groups • Hardness is the measure of resistance of a mineral to being scratched. • The harder the mineral, the less likely it can be scratched.

  9. Hardness • To test for hardness, you can rub a mineral against a mineral with a known hardness. • Scientists use a standard hardness scale called a Mohs Scale. A Mohs Scale consists of 10 minerals arranged from 10 (hardest) to 1 (softest).

  10. Hardness • Any material of unknown hardness can be rubbed against these known materials to determine it’s hardness. • The harder material will always scratch the softer material.

  11. Cleavage • In the atomic structure of a mineral, some bonds are weaker than others. • These weak bonds are places where a mineral will break when stress is applied.

  12. Cleavage • Cleavage is the tendency of a mineral to break, or cleave, along flat, even surfaces.

  13. Cleavage • Minerals called Micas show the simplest cleavages; breaking into thin flat sheets • Quartz, on the other hand, has no cleavage but fractures instead. • Some minerals have cleavage in more than one direction.

  14. Fracture • Minerals that do not show cleavage when stressed are said to fracture • Fracture is the uneven breakage of a mineral. • Quartz shows a curved scalloped fracture called a conchoidal fracture

  15. Fracture • Other minerals, like asbestos, break into splinters or fibers when stressed. • Many minerals have an irregular fracture.

  16. Density • Density is a property of all matter • Density is the ratio of an object’s mass to it’s volume (it’s weight to it’s size)

  17. Density • The density of a pure element has a constant unchanging value. • Thus density can be used to determine the purity or identity of some minerals.