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Scientists have identified over 4000 Minerals of the earth's crust, although much of the earth's crust has formed the few of them. Nearly, all foods have salt and salt is nothing but a mineral called halite or sodium chloride. We wear minerals, live with minerals and on minerals, and admire the beauty of minerals.
Minerals are "crystalline" solids. It is a solid crystal whose atoms are arranged in a regular repeating pattern. Sodium ions combine with chloride ions to form salt (halite). All salt grains in a salt spray have this crystal structure. Minerals have a structure that is not characteristic of living masses. Coal is made from the remains of plants and animals. Is coal a mineral? Coal is classified as a sedimentary rock but is not a mineral.
Minerals are made by natural processes that occur in the ground or on the ground. Diamonds made deep in the earth's crust are minerals, but diamonds made by humans in the laboratory are not. Be careful when buying laboratory-made diamonds as jewelry. Because it may be beautiful, but it is not a Diamond and it is not technically a mineral.
Almost all of the Earth's crust (98.5%) is made up of eight elements (oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium), and these are the elements that make up the largest amount of minerals. All minerals have their own chemical composition. Silver ores are made up of only silver atoms, and diamonds are made up of only carbon atoms, but most minerals are made up of chemical compounds. Each mineral has its own chemical formula.
NaCl (also known as halite) is NaCl (sodium chloride). Quartz is made up of two Oxygen atoms bonded to a silicon atom, represented by the chemical formula SiO2. In nature, things are seldom as simple inside the laboratory, so it should come as no surprise that some minerals contain a wide range of chemical compounds. An important example in earth science is olivine, which contains silicon and oxygen, as well as some iron and magnesium (Mg, Fe) 2SiO4.
Minerals are categorized based on their chemical composition. Owing to similarities in composition, minerals within a same group may have similar characteristics. Minerals are everywhere! Figure 2. 1 below shows some common household items and the minerals used to make them. Silver in jewelry is also a mineral. Baseball bats and bicycle frames both contain minerals. Scientists have identified more than 4,000 minerals in Earth’s crust. 1: Silver and halite are minerals; the mineral quartz is used to make glass. Geologists have a very specific definition for minerals. Minerals can be identified by their characteristic physical properties such as crystalline structure, hardness, streak, and cleavage. Minerals are crystalline solids. Minerals are made by natural processes, those that occur in or on Earth. A diamond created deep in Earth’s crust is a mineral. Is a diamond created in a laboratory by placing carbon under high pressures a mineral? No. Do not buy a laboratory-made “diamond” for jewelry without realizing it is not technically a mineral. 5%) of Earth’s crust is made up of only eight elements – oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium – and these are the elements that make up most minerals. All minerals have a specific chemical composition. The mineral silver is made up of only silver atoms and diamond is made only of carbon atoms, but most minerals are made up of chemical compounds. Quartz is always made of two oxygen atoms bonded to a silicon atom, SiO2. A hard mineral containing covalently bonded carbon is diamond, but a softer mineral that also contains calcium and oxygen along with carbon is calcite (Figure below). The structure of calcite shows the relationship of calcium (Ca), carbon (C), and oxygen (O). Some minerals have a range of chemical composition. Olivine always has silicon and oxygen as well as iron or magnesium or both, (Mg, Fe)2SiO4. How physical properties are used to identify minerals is described in the lesson on Mineral Formation. Minerals are divided into groups based on chemical composition. Most minerals fit into one of eight mineral groups. The roughly 1,000 silicate minerals make up over 90% of Earth’s crust. Feldspar and quartz are the two most common silicate minerals. Both are extremely common rock-forming minerals. The basic building block for all silicate minerals is the silica tetrahedron, which is illustrated in Figure below. To create the wide variety of silicate minerals, this pyramid-shaped structure is often bound to other elements, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. One silicon atom bonds to four oxygen atoms to form a silica tetrahedron. The different ways that silica tetrahedrons can join together cause these two minerals to look very different. Only a small number of minerals are found in this category. Some of the minerals in this group are rare and valuable. Gold, silver, sulfur, and diamond are examples of native elements. The basic carbonate structure is one carbon atom bonded to three oxygen atoms. Two carbonate minerals: (a) deep blue azurite and (b) opaque green malachite. Halide minerals are salts that form when salt water evaporates. The chemical elements known as the halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine) bond with various metallic atoms to make halide minerals (seeFigure below). Oxides contain one or two metal elements combined with oxygen. Hematite (Fe2O3), with two iron atoms to three oxygen atoms, and magnetite (Fe3O4) (Figure below), with three iron atoms to four oxygen atoms, are both iron oxides. Phosphate minerals are similar in atomic structure to the silicate minerals. In the phosphates, phosphorus, arsenic, or vanadium bond to oxygen to form a tetrahedra. There are many different minerals in the phosphate group, but most are rare (Figure below). Turquoise is a phosphate mineral containing copper, aluminum, and phosphorus. Sulfate minerals contain sulfur atoms bonded to oxygen atoms. The sulfate group contains many different minerals, but only a few are common. Unlike sulfates, sulfides do not contain oxygen. People may mistake pyrite for gold because the two minerals are shiny, metallic, and yellow in color.