Minerals_LabActivity.docx - Minerals Laboratory Exercise...

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Minerals Laboratory ExerciseObjectives:Students will be able to identify common properties of minerals based on mechanical cohesion.Students will be able to identify common optical properties of minerals.Students will be able to identify special properties of minerals.Students will be able to identify mineral samples based on their common properties.Introduction:The term mineral is used in a large variety of ways. From an economic standpoint, the word mineral means anyvaluable material that can be extracted from the earth, such as coal or oil. From the view of a nutritionist, theword mineral is used to describe chemical compounds or elements that are important for nutrition. Geoscientistshave a very precise definition of the word, “mineral.” Amineralis a naturally occurring, inorganic crystallinesolid, with a definite (though not always fixed) chemical composition.A material that is naturally occurring is formed without human intervention and can be found in the naturalenvironment. You probably learned about the solid state of matter in grade school, but perhaps the types ofsolids weren’t clearly distinguished. A crystalline solid is different than an amorphous solid. A crystalline solidhas atoms and/or ions that are arranged and chemically bonded in a pattern that is regular and repeating.Typically, if you were to observe a crystalline solid, you would see a very symmetrically arranged shape, withcrystal faces that result from the orderly atomic structure it is composed of.Credit: physicsopenlab.orgAll minerals have a definite chemical composition. A chemical formula can be written out for any commonmineral – for example, the mineral quartz has a formula of SiO2. This means that quartz compounds have twooxygen atoms for every one silicon atom. Some different minerals have very similar chemical formulas. Inaddition, there occasionally may be a mineral in which there’s some variation in the chemical formula,depending on the environment in which it developed. For example, olivine, may be magnesium rich (Mg2SiO4),or iron rich, with a composition of Fe2SiO4. Such variability is very limited.Mineralogyis the study of minerals. There around about 4,000 known minerals, and more are being discoveredevery year. As a student of Earth Science, you will be tasked with understanding the basic physical (andsometimes chemical) properties that help to define the minerals in the world around us.Physical Properties of MineralsThe physical properties of minerals are determined by the structure and chemical composition of the minerals.We will divide mineral properties into categories, and you will complete activities related to the pre-definedcategories presented.
Mechanical Cohesion PropertiesProperties in this category are derived from the strength of the chemical bonds that hold the mineral together.

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Term
Fall
Professor
N/A
Tags
Mineralogy, Mohs scale of mineral hardness

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