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What are Minerals?

What are the characteristics of a mineral?


Crystal Structure Definite Chemical
Naturally SolidA mineral Formed by Inorganic CompositionA mineral
ProcessesEvery mineral The particles of a has a definite chemical
Occurring is always a solid must be able to form from mineral line up in a composition which means
Substances that with definite minerals that were not part pattern that repeats the mineral always
of living things. Some contains certain elements
are formed by shape and volume minerals that CAN form over and over again. in definite proportions.
Natural Processes from inorganic processes
may also be produced by
living things.

Examples of Minerals

How are minerals formed?

Crystallization from materials Cooling of Melt. Crystallization


dissolved in a solution. This can occurs as magma below the surface cools
occur by Evaporation or through the cooling slowly over thousands of years (Large
of minerals dissolved in a Hot Water Crystals) or If lava on the surface cools
Solution. quickly (Small Crystals)
Color Luster Streak

The color you see Describes how The color of the


minerals powder.
when you look at light is reflected Although the color of a
the mineral. from the mineral can vary, the
minerals streak color for a
specific mineral will
surface. NOT.

Cleavage / Fracture Hardness Crystal Shape Density Special Properties


Cleavage is the tendency of a Describes how hard a The number of faces The amount of Bending light to
mineral to split into flat mass per cubic cause double images
mineral is on a scale of and the angle at which
surfaces. unit is specific Conducts electricity
1 to 10 called the the faces meet.
Fracture describes how a for each Glows under special
mineral looks when it breaks Mohs Hardness Scale. lights
Determined by a mineral.
apart in an irregular way. magnetic
Most minerals FRACTURE. scratch test.

Why is it important to learn about minerals?


Minerals help us in learning and understanding the history of Earth. It is also important for us to have a knowledge
of minerals before we do any building (you do NOT want a building or road made out of Talc) and since many of
our everyday things are made from rocks and minerals, a working knowledge of them is a must.

What is the difference between a mineral and a naturally occurring substance?


Minerals will have all 5 of the mineral characteristics. If it is missing even one, then it is simply a naturally occurring
substance.

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