Minerals. Author: Rebecca Brindley

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1 Minerals Author: Rebecca Brindley

2 CHAPTER 1 Minerals 1

3 Minerals Quartz: What is a Mineral? There are five things that must be true for a substance to be classified as a mineral. The five items are as follows: Minerals must be. - Naturally occurring (NOT MAN MADE) - Inorganic (NOT made from living things) - Crystalline (atoms have a definite internal pattern) - Definite Chemical Composition (has a chemical formula) - Solid at room temperature There are four different ways in which a mineral can form. 1. Cooling of magma or lava 2. Evaporation (example: salt is left behind when seawater evaporates) 3. Precipitation (example: calcite CaCO 3. Think of sugar settling to the bottom of coffee as it cools down) 4. Existing minerals can change when subjected to heat or pressure (metamorphic minerals) Feldspar: Mineral Families: Minerals are grouped based on their chemical composition (the elements they are made from). There will be five discussed in this chapter. 1. Silicates: this is the most common mineral family. This family contains the elements silicon (Si) and oxygen (O). These are usually vey hard minerals. The two elements together look like this SiO 2. Examples of this mineral family inlcude: quartz, feldspar, mica, and olivine. Mica: 2

4 Olivine: Dolomite: 2. Carbonates: these are formed when a carbonate ion (CO 3 ) combines with metal ions. Carbonate minerals fizz in acid, such as rainwater and groundwater that can contain carbonic acid. Carbonate minerals form limestone. Examples of this mineral family include: calcite and dolomite. Calcite: 3. Oxides: this mineral family is oxygen (O) plus any element EXCEPT silicon (Si). Oxides are economically important ores. Examples of this mineral family include: hematite (FeO 2 ) and magnetite (Fe 2 O 3 ). Hematite: 3

5 Magnetite: 5. Native Elements: these are solid elements uncombined with any other element. They are often metals. Examples include: gold (Au), Silver (Ag), Copper (Cu). Gold: 4. Sulfides: this mineral family has a metallic element combined with sulfur (S). Sulfides are important sources of iron ore. Examples include: pyrite (FeS 2 ) also known as fools gold and galena (PbS). Pyrite: Silver: Galena: 4

6 Copper: Minerals can be identified based on their physical properties. These physical properties include color, luster, streak, cleavage, fracture, hardness, specific gravity, acid test, taste, smell, fluorescence, radioactivity, double refraction, and magnetism. Physical Properties: 1. Color: color is easy to see but it is the least reliable property for identification of a mineral. Many different minerals are the same color (calcite, quartz, dolomite) and the same mineral can come in many different colors. For example quartz can be pink, white, clear, purple, and yellow. The following pictures are all quartz.!! 5

7 2. Luster: luster is how a mineral shines in reflected light. There are two types of luster: Metallic looks like polished metal Non-metallic: all others Vitreous: glassy Pearly dull: doesn t shine at all Dull Metallic Luster: Pyrite ( Fools Gold ) 3. Streak: color of the powdered form of a mineral. The streak is not always the same color as the mineral. Metallic minerals usually have a black or dark streak while non-metallic minerals usually have a white or clear streak. Performing the Streak Test: rub the mineral on unglazed tile or other rough surface and observe what color the powdered form of the mineral is. Non-Metallic Lusters: Pearly!!!!!!!!!! 4. Cleavage: when minerals naturally break or split along flat surfaces. Minerals can cleave in 1, 2, 3, or more directions. a. Cleaving in one direction: mineral mica it peels off in sheets. b. Cleaving in two directions: mineral feldspar breaks in an arrowheadtype point c. Cleaving in three directions: mineral salt breaks into little cubes 6

8 Mohs Scale of Hardness 5. Fracture: when minerals break along non-cleavage surfaces resulting in irregular edges (not flat) Quartz is one of many minerals that fracture. Conchoidal fracture smoothly curved like inside of a shell; often seen in quartz. Scratch Test:! 6. Hardness: a mineral s resistance to being scratched. The scale for comparing different hardness values is called the Moh s Scale of Hardness. 7. Specific Gravity: this property tests a minerals density. It indicates how many times denser the object is than water (recall that water has a density of 1g/cm 3 ). The field test for specific gravity is called the Heft Test. The Heft Test is performed 7

9 by placing the mineral in your hand and tossing the mineral up and down to determine how heavy it is for its size. 9. Special Properties: - Taste (rock salt tastes salty) - Smell (sulfur stinks like rotten eggs) 8. Acid Test: this property tests how a mineral will react to a weak acid, such as hydrochloric acid (HCl) or even rainwater and groundwater (which can contain carbonic acid). Only carbonate minerals react to the acid by fizzing. Calcite and dolomite are common carbonates. - Fluorescence: when a mineral glows in UV (ultra-violet) light 8

10 - Radioactivity (uranium is radioactive) - Double Refraction: two images show through a clear mineral (a type of calcite called Icelandic spar) - Magnetism (magnetite is magnetic) Lab: Mineral Identification: Click on the following link to perform the lab. sity_sim3x.html Online Lab Worksheet: Complete the sheet online as you perform the lab then print it or export it. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0alwchf7bed1rd DBwajAtU216NnZxVHpyQTJ6UXdKSXc 9

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