Chapter_01IM_001 - Minerals: Building Blocks of Rocks 1...

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Minerals: Building Blocks of Rocks 1 Minerals: Building Blocks of Rocks begins with an explanation of the difference between a mineral and a rock, followed by a formal definition of a mineral. Elements, atoms, compounds, ions, and atomic bonding are explained. Also investigated are isotopes and radioactivity. Following descriptions of the properties used in mineral identification, the silicate and nonsilicate mineral groups are examined. The chapter concludes with a discussion of mineral resources, reserves, and ores. Learning Objectives After reading, studying, and discussing the chapter, students should be able to: Explain the difference between a mineral and a rock . Describe the basic structure of an atom and explain how atoms combine. List the most important elements that compose Earth's continental crust. Explain isotopes and radioactive decay. Describe the physical properties of minerals and how they can be used for mineral identification. List the basic compositions and structures of the silicate minerals. List the economic use of some nonsilicate minerals. Distinguish between mineral resources, reserves, and ores. Chapter Summary A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic solid that possesses a definite chemical composition and a definitive molecular structure that gives it a unique set of physical properties. Most rocks are aggregates composed of two or more minerals. The building blocks of minerals are elements . An atom is the smallest particle of matter that still retains the characteristics of an element. Each atom has a nucleus , which contains protons and neutrons . Orbiting the nucleus of an atom are electrons . The number of protons in an atom's nucleus determines its atomic number and the name of the element. Atoms bond together to form a compound by either gaining, losing, or sharing electrons with another atom. Isotopes are variants of the same element, but with a different mass number (the total number of neutrons plus protons found in an atom's nucleus). Some isotopes are unstable and disintegrate naturally through a process called radioactive decay . The properties of minerals include crystal form , luster , color , streak , hardness , cleavage , fracture , and specific gravity . In addition, a number of special physical and chemical properties ( taste , smell , elasticity , malleability , feel , magnetism , double refraction , and chemical reaction to hydrochloric acid ) are useful in identifying certain minerals. Each mineral has a unique set of properties which c1x be used for identification. The eight most abundant elements found in Earth's continental crust (oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron,
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Chapter_01IM_001 - Minerals: Building Blocks of Rocks 1...

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