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Transcript of Minerals
– A naturally occurring, inorganic (never living) solid that has a crystal structure and a definite chemical composition.
2. Minerals have many characteristics that can help identify them.
- The streak of a mineral is the color of its powder. Though the color of a mineral may vary, the streak color never does.
- A term used to describe how light is reflected from a mineral's surface. Examples: metallic, glassy, waxy, earthy
– Each mineral has its own density which can be determined from a sample.
– One of the best clues to identify a mineral is by how hard it is. Friedrich Mohs created the Mohs hardness scale which ranks ten minerals from softest to hardest. Hardness is determined by a scratch test. A mineral can scratch any mineral softer than itself, but can be scratched by any mineral that is harder. The scale is used to determine the hardness of a mineral on a scale from 1 to 10.
- The color of a mineral is an easy observation, but the color alone provides little information to make an identification.
– The crystals of each mineral grow atom by atom to form that mineral’s crystal structure. There are six groups called crystal systems which a mineral can fall under based on the number and angles of the crystal faces. The systems include: Cubic, Hexagonal, Tetragonal, Orthorhombic, Monoclinic, and Triclinic.
– The way a mineral breaks apart can help identify it. If a mineral can split easily along flat surfaces it has a property known as cleavage. This depends on how the atoms are arranged in the mineral. If minerals do not have the property of cleavage, they look a specific way when they break apart or fracture. For example, when quartz fractures, it produces a curved, shell-like surface that looks like chipped glass, but pure metals form jagged points when they fracture.
– Some minerals can be identified by special properties. For example, a few minerals possess magnetism while others glow under ultraviolet light known as fluorescence.
– A process when atoms are arranged to form a material with a crystal structure
a. Crystallization by cooling magma or lava (slower the cooling the larger the crystals)
b. Crystallization by minerals dissolving in water. If water evaporates, the dissolved minerals can crystallize, or if the water is very hot and slowly cools the minerals can crystallize.
How Minerals Form