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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MINERALS


1. Hardness The hardness of a mineral can be determined by a scratch test. The scratch test establishes how easily a mark can be made on a mineral sample using different materials. If a mark is made easily, the mineral is not very hard. If no mark can be made, then the mineral is quite hard. The hardness is then measured on a scale of 1-10, called Mohs scale of hardness. Mohs Scale of Hardness 1 Talc 2 Gypsum 2.5 3 Calcite (penny) 4 Fluorite 5 Apatite 5.5 6 Orthoclase 6-6.5 6-7 7 Quartz 8 Topaz 9 Corundum 10 Diamond

(fingernail)

(glass) (unglazed porcelain) ( steel file)

2. Color Color is the first thing that someone notices when they view a mineral. Color is also one of the big reasons that attract people to minerals. Color in minerals is caused by the absorption, or lack of absorption, of various wavelengths of light. The color of light is determined by its wavelength. When pure white light (containing all wavelengths of visible light) enters a crystal, some of the wavelengths might be absorbed while other wavelengths may be emitted. If this happens then the light that leaves the crystal will no longer be white but will have some color. 3. Streak Streak is the color which a mineral displays when it has been ground to fine powder. Typically an edge of the sample will be rubbed across porcelain plate, leaving behind a streak of finely ground material. It has been proven to be a powerful property because it is generally very consistent from specimen to specimen for a given mineral.

ae Two minerals that have similar outward color may have different colors when powdered. For instance, the mineral hematite and galena can be confused when both have a gray color. However, hematites streak is blood red, while galenas streak is lead gray. Pyrite (a.k.a. Fools Gold) always brassy yellow when found in crystals, even broken crystals of any size; but when powdered, it produces a black streak. It is the structure and chemistry of pyrite that produces the brassy yellow color, but only when enough structure is there. 4. Specific Gravity - the ratio of the density of a given substance, to the density of water. Substances with a specific gravity greater than 1 are heavier than water, and substances with a specific gravity of less than 1 are lighter than water.

Example: Maricris Sabino purchases a gold necklace at a flea market. After she got home, she hangs the necklace from a scale and finds its mass to be 38.5 grams. She then weighs the necklace while it is immersed in water, and the scale reads 28.7 grams. Is the necklace made of pure gold? Explain. ( Solution: )

*** The necklace is not made of pure gold. 5. Tenacity The property of tenacity describes the behavior of a mineral under deformation. It describes the physical reaction of a mineral to externally applied stresses such as crushing, cutting, bending, and

ae striking forces. Adjectives used to characterize various types of mineral tenacity include 'brittle,' 'flexible,' 'elastic,' 'malleable,' 'ductile,' and 'sectile. a. Brittle Most minerals are brittle, and will crumble or fracture under pressure or upon the application of a blow. Such minerals break or powder easily. b. Flexible A mineral which is flexible rather than brittle will flex as opposed to breaking under the application of stress. However, a mineral which is merely flesible and not also elastic will be unable to return to its original shape when the stress is removed. Flakes of molybdenite and scales of talc are two substances which are flexible but not elastic. c. Elastic An elastic mineral will deform under external stress but will resume its original shape after the stress is removed. If it is bent, it will flex, but will return to its previous position when the stress disappears. The mineral mica is both flexible and elastic. d. Malleable Native metals such as copper, silver, and gold are easily flattened with a hammer. This type of tenacity is termed malleable. Metallic-bonded minerals tend to be malleable, and may be pounded out into thin, flat sheets. e. Ductile Some malleable materials are also ductile, and may be drawn out into thin wires without crumbling. f. Sectile Some minerals may be sliced into smooth sheets with a knife, although these may possibly still crumble under a blow from a hammet. Materials possessing this rare type of tenacity are called sectile minerals. This spcies chlorargvrite (AgCl) offers an example of a sectile mineral. 6. Crystal Habit Crystal habit is a description of the shapes and aggregates that a certain mineral is likely to form. Often this is the most important characteristic to examine when identifying a mineral. Although most minerals have different forms, they are sometimes quite distinct and common only to one or even just a few minerals. The following is a list of descriptive terms which are applied when discussing crystal habit: a. Equant A crystal which is equant or equidimensional possesses approximately the same side length in every direction.

ae Eg. Garnet b. Prismatic Prismatic crystals are pecil-like, elongated crystals that are thicker than needles. Eg. Tourmaline c. Tabular Crystals appear in a tabular or plate like shape. Eg. Wulfunite d. Bladed Elongated and flattened like a blade of grass. Eg. Gypsum e. Micaceous Minerals of micaceous habit form as thin, flat sheets or flakes which are easily peeled or slpit off the larger mass. Eg. Muscovite

CHEMICAL COMPOSITIONS OF MINERALS


1. Chalcopyrite Atomic Wt. 63.54 55.85 2 (32.07) 159.7 Wt. Percent 34.62 % 30.43 % 34.95 % Atm. Prop 0.54 0.54 1.09 Atm Ratio 1 1 2

Cu Fe S Total Solution:

Atomic Property:

ae 2. Hematite Fe O Total Atomic Wt. 55.85 16 159.7 Wt. Percent 69.94 % 30.06 % Atm. Prop 1.25 1.88 Atm Ratio 2 3

Solution: Fe=55.85*2=111.7 O=16*3=48

Atomic Property:

3. Gypsum CaO Atomic Wt. 40.08+16=56.08 32.06+48=80.06 (2+16)*2=36 172.14 Wt. Percent 32.58% 46.51% 20.91% Atm. Prop 0.58 0.58 1.16 Atm Ratio 1 1 2

Total Solution:

Atomic Property:

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ROCKS and MINERALS


1. Chalcopyrite Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 2. Pyrite Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: Copper Iron Sulfide Brass yellow to golden yellow Black with a slightly green tinge 3.5-4 FeS2 Iron Sulfide Yellowish gray to gray. (Yellow-brown=oxidized) Black with a slightly green tinge 6-6.5 6. Alabaster Composition: Color: CaSO4 2H2O (variety of gypsum) Hydrous calcium sulfate Colorless, white, gray, brown, beige, orange, pink, yellow, light red, green White 2

Streak: Hardness:

7. Anhydrite Composition: Color:

3. Bornite Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 4. Selenite Composition: Color:

Cu5FeS4 Copper Iron Sulfide Copper-red to yellowish brown on fresh surfaces Dark gray to black 3 CaSO42H2O(variety of gypsum) Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate Colorless, white, gray, brown, beige, orange, pink, yellow, light red, green White 2

Streak: Hardness:

CaSO4 Calcium Sulfate Colorless, white, yellow, gray, blue, orange-red, red, pink, purple. White to light gray 3-3.5

8. Calcite Composition: Color:

Streak: Hardness:

Streak: Hardness:

CaCO3 Calcium carbonate Colorless, white, yellow, brown, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, green, gray, black White 3

5. Quartz Composition: Color:

SiO2 Silicon Dioxide Colorless, white, purple, pink, brown, and black. Also gray, green, orange, yellow, blue, and red White 7

9. Gypsum Composition: Color:

Streak: Hardness:

CaSO4 2H2O Calcium Sulfate Colorless, white, gray, brown, beige, orange, pink, yellow, light red, green White 2

Streak: Hardness:

10. Magnetite Fe2+Fe3+2O4 Composition: Iron Oxide Color: Black

ae Streak: Hardness: 11. Galena Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 12. Stibnite Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 13. Arsenite Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 14. Conglomerate Composition: Color: brown,black, or gray Streak: Hardness: 15. Feldspar Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 16. Marble Composition: Black 5.5-6.5 PbS Lead Sulfide Steel-gray Steel-gray 2.5-3 Sb2S3 Antimony trisulfide Metallic silver-gray Dark gray 2 Color: Streak: Hardness: 17. Diorite Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 18. Chert (variety of chalcedony) Composition: Color: off-white, gray or cream Streak: Hardness: 19. Manganese Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness: 20. Siltstone Composition: Color: Streak: Hardness:

grey, black, or brown

Light colored, including white, pink, tan, green or gray 6 CaCO3 calcium Carbonate

21. Limestone CaCO3 Composition: Calcium Carbonate Color: sandy, gray, greenish, or blackish Streak: Hardness: 3