Even geologists have the right to have an overwhelming time identifying minerals. Tbelow are over 4,000 well-known minerals, and about 80-100 brand-new ones are found yearly. Of all these, only a few hundred are taken into consideration widespread.

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To aid through identification, geologists must look very closely at the physical properties of a mineral. These properties have the right to include: color, streak, hardness, cleavage, specific gravity, crystal create, and also others.


Some minerals can be well-known by their color: azurite is always a deep blue and also malachite is green. Generally, color alone is not the best tool in identification because color can be highly variable. Some minerals can take place in a selection of different colors due to impurities in the chemical makeup of the mineral. For instance, calcite is typically white, but have the right to be blue, brvery own, yellow, oselection, red, gray to black, or colorless.


A streak test is accomplished by rubbing the mineral on a porcelain plate, likewise known as a streak plate. The color of the streak left by the mineral is periodically various from the color of the mineral itself. A streak test comes in handy once identifying minerals such as hematite. Hematite have the right to be uncovered in various colors from black to red, yet it constantly leaves a red streak.


Hardness is a measure of a mineral’s resistance to abrasion. A numerical worth for hardness is established making use of a range that ranges from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). Developed by a Germale mineralogist, Friedaffluent Mohs, the Mohs Hardness Scale asindicators hardness values to 10 representative minerals and also various other widespread products (penny, knife blade, etc.). Talc is the softest mineral and diamond is the hardest mineral.


Cleavage deserve to be oboffered in minerals that tfinish to break along one or more flat surencounters or planes. The variety of cleavage planes, and their orientations family member to each other, can be diagnostic of particular minerals. Minerals that display cleavage include: calcite, halite, fluorite, topaz, and also galena. However, not all minerals have cleavage, such as quartz and pyrite.

Specific Gravity

Specific gravity is the loved one weight of the mineral to an equal volume of water. For example, gold has actually a details gravity of 15-19.3 and also is therefore 15 to 19.3 times as heavy as water. It is possible to make a relatively great estimate of particular gravity by checking the mineral’s weight in your hand also.

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Crystal Form & Mineral Habit

Crystal develop is responsible for the mineral’s geometric form and also arrangement of crystal encounters. The crystal form will certainly constantly reprimary the very same in every sample uncovered of the very same mineral, although the crystal create is much better shown in some samples than in others. Sometimes, development fads, referred to as the mineral habit, disguise the right form of the crystal. However before, these actions deserve to also aid in identification. Some generally discovered habits include: botryoidal (which resembles a cluster of grapes), striated (parallel grooves on crystal faces), and also acicular (needlelike).

Other Physical Properties

Does the mineral have a taste (for example, salt)?Is the mineral fluorescent (for example, scheelite)?Does the mineral provide off an odor (for instance, sulfur)?Is the mineral magnetic (for example, magnetite)?Does dilute hydrochloric acid cause the mineral to fizz or effervesce (for instance, calcite)?Is the mineral radioactive (for example, uraninite)?