What is a Mineral

What is a Mineral

A mineral, by definition, is any naturally occurring, inorganic substance, often additionally characterized by an exact crystal structure. Its chemical structure can be exact, or can vary within limits. Elements that occur naturally are also considered minerals.

All minerals belong to a chemical group, which represents their affiliation with certain elements or compounds. The classified chemical groups are known as: Elements, Sulfides, Oxides, Halides, Carbonates, Nitrates, Borates, Sulfates, Chromates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates, Tungstates, molybdates, and Silicates. Some of these chemical groups have sub-categories, which may be categorized in some mineral references as separate groups.

All minerals belong to various crystal structure groups, classified according to the way the atoms of the mineral are arranged. Minerals also have distinctive properties, such as color, hardness, crystal habit, specific gravity, luster, fracture, and tenacity. Many of these properties can vary among a single mineral, within limits. Many minerals exhibit certain properties that others do not, such as fluorescence and radioactivity.

Minerals are an economic commodity; they are mined because of the need for a valuable element they contain or an intrinsic property they may have. Other minerals are mined for their beauty and rareness, thus giving many specimens an accepted worldwide value. There are about 3,000 different types of minerals, and new ones are constantly discovered. Most of them are not known to professional mineral collectors, because they are rare, have no economic purpose, and for the most part do not make good specimens.

What is a Rock

The best way to define a rock is to say that it is an indefinite mixture of naturally occurring substances, mainly minerals. Its composition may vary in containment of minerals and organic substances, and are never exact. They can range from tiny microscopic grains of minerals or organic substances to coarse agglomerates of different minerals, where the individual minerals are easily discernible. They may range in size from tiny pebbles to huge mountains. Rocks make up the earth’s crust. Many rocks are not solid -- such as magma, soil, and clay. In general, the only people interested in rocks are geologists and paleontologist who are interested in the scientific nature and dating of the rocks. Different mineral deposits can be found in related rock formations, providing use by estimating what minerals rock formations may contain.

The term "rock collection" is usually misused for "mineral collection". Although a few people collect rocks, the amount of people collecting minerals is much greater.


Hosted by www.Geocities.ws

Mineral Properties and Identification Procedures

Mineral Properties and Identification Procedures

Minerals represent just another complex structure in this greatly varied earth. There are endless amounts of studies that can be covered when dealing with the topic of minerals. Minerals embody numerous physical properties, which make them much more interesting and complex than commonly perceived. Several of these properties are essential in mineral identification. With enough experience, a mineral can often be accurately identified by simply viewing it. However, by conducting a few simple tests, the identification procedure is exact and unmistakable.

Scientists identify elemental makeup by conducting complex test with expensive equipment, such as x-rays and high-powered electron microscopes. They use these techniques to identify minerals. For the most part, though, conducting a few simple, costless tests can identify minerals. Once a person becomes experienced in this field, he can usually identify a mineral by observing it and taking into account its specific features, such as color and crystal formation.

Below is a list of all of these properties. Select a property to learn about it, and how it is used as an identification procedure.

·         Fluorescence

·         Phosphorescence

·         Triboluminescence

·         Thermoluminescence

·         Electrical Properties

·         Magnetic Properties

·         Radioactivity

·         Water Solubility and Taste

·         Feel

·         Odor

·         Percussion Figure

·         Efflorescence

·         Deliquesce

·         Transformation

·         Decomposition

·         Location

  • Complex Mineral Testing Methods

·         X-ray analysis

·         Blowpipe Test

·         Bead Test

·         Flame Test

·         Tube Test

·         Acid Test

·         Refractive Index

·         Double Refraction

·         Dispersion and Fire

·         Absorption Spectrum

  • Light and Color Effects

·         Asterism

·         Adularescence

·         Aventurization

·         Cat's Eye Effect

·         Chatoyancy

·         Cymophane Effect

·         Dichroism and Pleochroism

·         Iridescence

·         Opalescence

·         Silk Effect


Hosted by www.Geocities.ws

Hosted by www.Geocities.ws