How to Identify Minerals inward x Steps (Photos)

Step 1: Pick Your Mineral

Photo Credit: Andrew Alden
Learning mineral identification is similar learning to cook. You laid about past times next step-by-step procedures as well as looking upwardly a lot of things. But afterwards a patch you lot notice regularities, perish familiar amongst the park suspects, brand some productive mistakes, as well as acquire improve at it until it becomes slow as well as fun.

Another way mineral identification is similar cooking is that professionals tin give notice perish to school, larn to run expensive equipment as well as master copy the dependent land fully, nevertheless amateurs tin give notice grip nearly all the mutual possibilities using only a few unproblematic tools.The commencement affair to produce is to discovery as well as examine your mineral.Use the largest slice you lot tin give notice find, as well as if you lot direct keep several pieces, brand sure as shooting sure that they are all the same mineral. Examine your mineral for all of the next properties, writing downward the answers. After that you’ll live fix to direct keep your information to the correct place.

Step 2: Hardness

Kit of Mohs’ Hardness Mineral Identification

Hardness is a mineral’s mightiness to resist existence scratched. Minerals that are non easily scratched are hard. You examine the hardness of a mineral past times scratching its surface amongst a mineral of a known hardness. Mineralogists run Mohs Scale equally a reference for mineral hardness. The scale lists mutual minerals inwards social club of their relative hardness. You tin give notice run the minerals inwards the scale to examine the hardness of an unknown mineral.

As you lot tin give notice see, diamond is a 10 on Mohs Scale. Diamond is the hardest mineral, which agency that no other mineral tin give notice scratch a diamond. Quartz is a 7, as well as hence it tin give notice live scratched past times topaz, corundum, as well as diamond. Quartz volition scratch minerals, such equally fluorite, that direct keep a lower discover on the scale. Suppose you lot tested a slice of pure aureate for hardness. Calcite would scratch the gold, but gypsum would non because gypsum is a 2 as well as calcite is a 3. That would hateful aureate is betwixt the hardness of gypsum as well as calcite, or 2.5 on the scale. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 hardness of 2.5 agency that aureate is a relatively soft mineral. It is solely virtually equally difficult equally your fingernail.
Read virtually Mineral hardness.

Step 3: Luster

Read virtually Luster here

Step 4: Color

Step 5: Streak

Streak is the color of the pulverization of a mineral. To produce a streak test, you lot scrape the mineral across an unglazed porcelain plate. The plate is harder than many minerals, causing the minerals to locomote out a streak of pulverization on the plate. The color of the streak often differs from the color of the larger mineral sample. If you lot did a streak examine on the yellow-gold pyrite, you lot would run across a blackish streak. This blackish streak tells you lot that the mineral is non aureate because aureate has a gold-colored streak.

Streak is a to a greater extent than reliable belongings than the color of the mineral sample. The color of a mineral may vary, but its streak does non vary. Also, dissimilar minerals may live the same color, but they may direct keep a dissimilar color streak. For example, samples of hematite as well as galena tin give notice both live nighttime gray, but hematite has a cerise streak as well as galena has a grayness streak.

Step 6: Crystal Form as well as Mineral Habit

Cleavage is the way a mineral breaks. Many minerals intermission along apartment planes, or cleavages—some inwards solely i management (like mica), others inwards 2 directions (like feldspar), as well as some inwards 3 directions (like calcite) or to a greater extent than (like fluorite). Some minerals, similar quartz, direct keep no cleavage. Cleavage is a profound belongings that results from a mineral’s molecular structure, as well as cleavage is introduce fifty-fifty when the mineral doesn’t shape skilful crystals. Cleavage can also live described equally perfect, skilful or poor.

Fracture is breakage that is non flat. The 2 primary kinds of fracture are conchoidal (shell-shaped, equally inwards quartz) as well as uneven. Metallic minerals may direct keep a hackly (jagged) fracture. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 mineral may direct keep skilful cleavage inwards i or 2 directions but fracture inwards some other direction.

To determine Cleavage and fracture, you’ll involve a stone hammer and a rubber house to run it on minerals. A magnifier is also handy, but non required. Carefully intermission the mineral as well as discovery the shapes as well as angles of the pieces. It may intermission inwards sheets (one cleavage), splinters or prisms (two cleavages), cubes or rhombs (three cleavages) or something else.

Step 8: Magnetism

Magnetism is a distinctive belongings inwards a few minerals. Magnetite is the prime number example, but a few other minerals may live weakly attracted past times a magnet, notably chromite (a dark oxide) as well as pyrrhotite (a bronze sulfide). Use a potent magnet. The magnets I run came from the corners of an one-time plastic shower curtain. Another way to examine magnetism is to run across if the specimen attracts a scope needle.

Step 9: Other Mineral Properties

Taste is definitive for halite ( rock salt ), of course, but a few other evaporite minerals also direct keep distinctive tastes. Just behavior on your natural language to a fresh confront of the mineral as well as live fix to spit—after all it’s called taste, non flavor. Don’t worry virtually gustatory modality if you lot don’t alive inwards an expanse amongst these minerals.

Fizz means the effervescent reaction of sure as shooting carbonate minerals to the acid test. For this test, vinegar volition do. 
Heft is how heavy a mineral feels inwards the hand, an informal sense of density. Most minerals are virtually 3 times equally dense equally water, that is, they direct keep a specific gravity of virtually 3. Make banking concern complaint of a mineral that is noticeably low-cal or heavy for its size. Galena, on the right, is distinctly heavy. Sulfides as well as oxides tend to live dense.

Step 10: Look It Up

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Materials provided past times virtually Geology