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111lab-1 - GY 111 Lab Notes D Haywick(2006-07 1 GY 111 Lab...

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GY 111 Lab Notes D. Haywick (2006-07) 1 GY 111 Lab Lecture Note Series Lab 1: Introduction to Mineral Identification Lecture Goals: A) Definitions B) How to identify minerals C) Physical Properties Reference: Haywick (2001). GY 111; Earth Materials Lab Manual; Chapter 1. A) Definitions This will be a long lecture. It’s purpose is to introduce the basic tests and mineral properties that you will have to understand in order to identify minerals and later, rocks. Next week you will be able to “play” with the specimens. For today, just sit back and enjoy the ride. You need to know two definitions at this time: Mineral: a naturally occurring, inorganic , solid substance with a well-defined crystal structure and a unique chemical composition Rock: a naturally occurring substance containing 2 or more minerals. In this class, you will eventually learn how to identify both rocks and minerals. We usually start off with minerals because they have more ordered properties (i.e., they are easier to identify using a flow- chart methodology). B) How to identify minerals The first thing you have to do is distinguish between a rock and a mineral. If the substance looks relatively pure (e.g., it contains a single material or looks homogeneous), it may be a mineral. If it looks like an agglomerate of stuff (multi-coloured or different types of reflectance), it is likely a rock. Beware! Some minerals display multiple colors or are slightly stained by weathering rinds. Do not get confused by color masking. So what are some examples of minerals? The most common around here is quartz (image to right from www.csm.jmu.edu). This substance is solid, naturally occurring, inorganic, has a unique chemical composition ( SiO 2 ) and has a well defined crystal structure (hexagonal shaped crystal - bi-pyramidal ). Here are some other substances worth discussing. Fluorite ( CaF 2 ) Gold ( Au ) Gypsum ( CaSO 4 .2H 2 O ) Shells (CaCO 3 ) Chert ( SiO 2 ) Opal ( SiO 2 .H 2 O ) High School Ring Ruby ( Al 2 O 3 )
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GY 111 Lab Notes D. Haywick (2006-07) 2 The first 4 are all minerals. The last 3 are not. Many rubys are today synthetic, so they do not meet the naturally occurring requirements. Chert and opal are naturally occurring, but they do not have a crystalline structure. They are like glass and as such, do not meet the definition of a mineral. We refer to these substances as mineraloids . Other mineraloids include limonite (FeOOH) and bauxite ( Al 2 O 3 ). Were you surprised by shells being classified as minerals? Although organically produced, the carbonate minerals that form shells followed inorganic pathways. Some people (e.g., your humble instructor) like to refer to these substances as biogenic minerals . The most important ones are aragonite and calcite (both CaCO 3 ) and silica. Identification of minerals is relatively easy. All that you have to do is recognize the properties that characterize them. You distinguish people based upon their appearance, and minerals are identified in the same way. With people, you use height, hair color, weight, sex, age etc. to distinguish your friends.
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