Glossary of Properties of Minerals

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What four properties do minerals have?
1. naturally occuring
2. inorganic
3. chrystal structure
4. definite chemical composition
What does it mean for a mineral to be naturally occuring?
it's a substance formed by processes in the natural world
How is quartz an example of a naturally occuring mineral?
Quartz forms naturally as molten material cools and hardens deep beneath Earth's surface
Why aren't plastic, brick and glass minerals?
They are made by people rather than natural forces.
What does it mean for a mineral to be inorganic?
A mineral cannot form from materials that were once part of a living thing.
Why isn't coal a mineral?
Coal was formed from the remains of plants that lived millions of years ago.
What does it mean for a mineral to be a solid?
A solid has definite volume and shape. The particles that make up a solid are packed together very tightly so they can't move around.
What does it mean for a mineral to have a chrystal structure?
A chrstal structure occurs when the particles line up in a pattern.
What does it mean for a mineral to have a definate chemical composition or range of compositions.
A mineral always contains certain elements in definite proportions.
What is a compound?
A combination of two or more atoms that has its own properties or characteristics.
Are the properties of a compound the same as the properties of the atoms that produce the compound?
Are metals pure solid elements or compounds?
Almost all metals are pure, solid elements.
How do scientists identify minerals?
Each mineral has characterisic properties that can be used to identify it.
In what two ways can you identify the properties of a mineral?
observing them
conductin tests on them
Why is color a limiting method for identifying minerals?
Many minerals are the same color, so color can only be used for minerals that are always their own characteristic color.
What is a streak test?
Rubbing a mineral against a piece of unglazed porcelain tile -- the streak it makes does not vary in color even though the outside color of the stone may.
Are the streak color and the color of the mineral always the same?
Not always
What is luster?
the term used to describe how light is reflected from a mineral's surface.
What is density?
The mass in a given space or mass per unit volume
Is the mass (size) of the mineral the same as its density?
NO. No matter what the size of a mineral sample is, the density always remains the same.
What is the formula for finding density?
Density = mass/volume
What is the Mohs harness scale?
A test to describe the hardness of minerals
How does the Mohs hardness scale work?
It ranks ten minerals from softest to hardest.
How is hardness determined?
by a scratch test -- a mineral can scratch another mineral that is softer, and can be scratched by one that it harder
What is a chrystal system
The way the crystals of each mineral grow atom by atom. The number and angle of the crystal face
How many chrystal systems are there
What are the chrystal systems?
cubic, hexagonal, tetragonal, orthohombic, monoclinic, and triclinic
What is fracture?
the way a mineral looks when it breaks apart in an irregular way
What are some ways fractures are classified?
shell-shaped, hackly (jagged and pointy), earthy (easily crumbled), uneven (rough, irregular surfaces)
What are two special features of minerals?
magnetism and glowing under an ultraviolet light
What is a geode?
a round hollow rick that is often lined with mineral crystals
What is crystallization?
the process in which atoms are arranged to form a material with a crystal structure.
In what two ways can minerals be formed?
1. by crystallization of molten material
2. by crystallization of materials dissolved in water
What is magma?
molten material from inside Earth that hardens to form rock
magma that reaches the surface and forms rock when it cools and hardens
How do minerals form from magma and lava?
1. hot magma cools inside Earth When it cools it forms crystals
2. Lava hardens on the surface and cools to form crystals
a mixture in which one substance is dissolved in another
How do minerals form from solutions?
When elements and compounds that are dissolved in water leave a solution, crystallization occurs
Where can minerals form from solutions?
underground and in bodies of water
How are minerals formed by evaporation?
When the solution evaporates, the crystal will be left
What happens to a mineral that is formed from a hot water solution?
It forms veins
A narrow channel or slab of a mineral that is differnet from the surrounding rock
How are veins formed
Solutions of hot water and metals often flow through crack within the rock, metals crystallize into veins
What are minerals used for
gemstpmes, metals, and materials to make many products
What are gemstones used for?
They are polished and cut into gems and used for jewelry, mechanical parts and grinding and polishing
What are some metals that come from minerals?
aluminum, iron, copper, and silver
What is the difference between a metal and a gemstone?
A metal is not as hard as a gemstone
Why are metals useful?
They can be:
stretched into wire
flattened into sheets
and hammered or molded without breaking
What are metals used for?
tolls and machinery, filaments in light bulbs, aluminum foil, and steel beams
What are some other uses for minerals?
food, medicine, fertilizer, and building material
What is talc used for
What is quartz used for
making glass and in electronic equipment and watches
What is gypsum used for
wallboard, cement and stucco
How is a mineral containing metal made into a finished product
it must be located through prospecting and removed from the ground. Then the rock must processed to extract (take out) the metal
What is a prospector?
Anyone who searches for an ore deposit
How do geologist prospect
observing rocks on the land surfce
studying maps of rocks beneath the surface
measuring the Earth's magnetic field
What are 3 types of mines
strip mines
open pit mines
shaft mines
What is strip mining
The earthmoving equipment scrapes away soil to expose ore
What is open pit mining
earthmoving equipment is used to dig a tremendous pit and remove ore deposits
What is shaft mining
miners dig a network of tunnels that extend deep into the ground following a vein of ore
What is smelting?
the process in which an ore is mixed with other substances and then melted to separate useful metal from other elements the ore contains
What is an alloy
A solid mixture of two or more elements at least one of which is a metal. An alloy MUST have the characteristic properties of a metal.

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