What is Minerals: Definition and 22 Discussions

In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.The geological definition of mineral normally excludes compounds that occur only in living beings. However some minerals are often biogenic (such as calcite) or are organic compounds in the sense of chemistry (such as mellite). Moreover, living beings often synthesize inorganic minerals (such as hydroxylapatite) that also occur in rocks.
The concept of mineral is distinct from rock, which is any bulk solid geologic material that is relatively homogeneous at a large enough scale. A rock may consist of one type of mineral, or may be an aggregate of two or more different types of minerals, spacially segregated into distinct phases.Some natural solid substances without a definite crystalline structure, such as opal or obsidian, are more properly called mineraloids. If a chemical compound occurs naturally with different crystal structures, each structure is considered a different mineral species. Thus, for example, quartz and stishovite are two different minerals consisting of the same compound, silicon dioxide.
The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) is the generally recognized standard body for the definition and nomenclature of mineral species. As of December 2020, the IMA recognizes 5,650 official mineral species out of 5,862 proposed or traditional ones.The chemical composition of a named mineral species may vary somewhat by the inclusion of small amounts of impurities. Specific varieties of a species sometimes have conventional or official names of their own. For example, amethyst is a purple variety of the mineral species quartz. Some mineral species can have variable proportions of two or more chemical elements that occupy equivalent positions in the mineral's structure; for example, the formula of mackinawite is given as (Fe,Ni)9S8, meaning FexNi9-xS8, where x is a variable number between 0 and 9. Sometimes a mineral with variable composition is split into separate species, more or less arbitrarily, forming a mineral group; that is the case of the silicates CaxMgyFe2-x-ySiO4, the olivine group.
Besides the essential chemical composition and crystal structure, the description of a mineral species usually includes its common physical properties such as habit, hardness, lustre, diaphaneity, colour, streak, tenacity, cleavage, fracture, parting, specific gravity, magnetism, fluorescence, radioactivity, as well as its taste or smell and its reaction to acid.
Minerals are classified by key chemical constituents; the two dominant systems are the Dana classification and the Strunz classification. Silicate minerals comprise approximately 90% of the Earth's crust. Other important mineral groups include the native elements, sulfides, oxides, halides, carbonates, sulfates, and phosphates.

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  1. S

    Chemical/Paint Different ways minerals deposit on water bowls

    Minerals in my city water deposit as white uneven layers on the metal bowls typically sold for watering dogs and cats. They also deposit that way on the metal bowls that I use for feeding humans. However on my two Nordicware brand cake pans (used as water bowls for cats) minerals deposit...
  2. O

    I Converting Unit Cell Volumes of Minerals to Density

    I'm modelling the interiors of core-dominated (exo)planets. The EoS I use in my calculations are mostly either a Birch-Murnaghan formulation or a Mie-Grüneisen-Debye formulation. In either case, the ambient density ρ0 at ambient pressure and temperature are required for the implementation...
  3. E

    B Mining asteroids for minerals and resources?

    In the distant future, will it be possible to mine asteroids for valuable raw materials and resources? What kind of materials could be extracted? What about moons and other planets in our solar system?
  4. P

    B Potassium or other minerals and the photoelectic effect

    Would UVC shined onto Potassium cause it to emanate more electrons than its specific work function? Does only the specific work function per mineral cause the mineral to emanate electrons or more energetic sources can also cause it to do the same without using its specific work function?
  5. S

    3D subsurface laser engraving for translucent minerals?

    3D Subsurface Laser Engraving works for clear glasses like Schott BK7 and B9 Borosilicate Glass. How does one do the same for relatively translucent minerals? I have read research papers on using lasers for tattoo removal and cancer radiation therapy. However, I want to know how the laser's...
  6. R

    Can dissolving minerals affect water temperature?

    Are there any type of minerals/molecules/elements even solids that when dissolved, in say a glass of room temp water, can raise or lower the temperature? Examples...
  7. P

    When will mining seawater for elements be affordable?

    So, I was wondering when will mining seawater for minerals be affordable. The whole process seems very energy intensive to do. Will it ever be a reality one day where we see tritium and deuterium mined alongside lithium and other important elements? I've read somewhere that there are enough...
  8. A

    Is there an equation linking phase relation and properties in mantle?

    I have information about temperature, pressure, normal and shear stresses, viscosity, conductivity, density, heat capacity and adiabatic heating for a particular area of mantle in the form of 2D matrices. I want to show phase relation for this region of mantle. Is there an equation (group of...
  9. E

    Uranium-Lead Dating: Exploring Age of Rocks

    I just recently read about how we got to know the true age of the Earth but I am a bit confused and curious about one thing. The mineral or rock is initially going to be a uranium right? If it is, isn't all of it going to decay at the same rate? I know that a radioactive reaction is spontaneous...
  10. Eureka99

    Trouble with identification of minerals

    Lately I'm learning how to identify the most common rock-forming minerals, but I have some doubts about it. First of all, how can I distinguish between massive minerals and rocks? Second thing, a massive mineral from what I understood, has an internal order (so it's not amorphous), but that does...
  11. mktsgm

    Medical Can our body synthesize minerals?

    Can our body synthesize its own minerals and essential elements? I mean calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc etc. I know we can have them from our food. Also, can they be stored just as glycogen stores glucose and fat tissue stores triglycerides etc?
  12. z.js

    Can you identify these minerals?

    Can you help me identify this mineral and rock? I can't. I think the mineral is quartz. I tried the UV light, but it didn't work. (Mebbe it's something precious!) :eek:
  13. B

    What color of LED light to use for display of minerals? Cool or warm?

    I'm going to display my rock and mineral collection in glass door cabinets in the living room. I've found some LED under-the-counter lights, 21 small LED lights per 2-ft string. I plan to use one of the strings for each shelf. They come in two "colors", warm and cool. Sorry, they don't...
  14. N

    Medical Is Supplementing with Multi-Vitamins Necessary for Optimal Health?

    I'm worried I'm not taking in enough vitamins and minerals in my body. My daily diet usually consists of white bread, eggs, cheese, chicken or meat, often macaroni or rice, milk, potatoes, and oatmeal. I only consume some vegetables and fruits here and there (and not much either). Does taking...
  15. P

    Explain how readings on these gravity instruments indicate deposits of minerals?

    Homework Statement (4 marks) Instruments that measure the force of the Earth's gravity with great accuracy are carried in airplanes over mineral-bearing landscapes. Explain how readings on the instruments indicate when there is a deposit of minerals or oil below the plane. Homework...
  16. M

    Diffusion Coefficient of Minerals ?

    I have been googling as many terms possible, but still not successful in finding a list of diffusion coefficients of common minerals eg; Quartz, Beryl, Spinel, Corundum etc... I will highly appreciate your contributions.
  17. W

    Wave Nature of Light of Minerals

    I'm in my physics course right now and recently became interested in mineral deposits and my teacher told me to look into how geologists use the wave nature of light to find mineral deposists.. I am not sure if I am just really confused about the subject or if I just can't find anything but...
  18. M

    Separation of sediments from alluvial minerals.

    Hello, I am looking for a technique to separate the sediments (Greywacke) which have been deposited on & in some mineral crystals, which are from an alluvial source. I have tried immersing them in ethanol, which has helped a lot but not 100% efficient... as some of the microscopic grains have...
  19. Greg Bernhardt

    Bare Minerals Makeup - Company Review

    This is an interesting product because I know quite a few females who use it and I know some salons even use it. Bare minerals is a makeup kit. They claim it's made from crushed minerals and is actually good for the skin. They also say is free of preservatives, talc, oil, fragrance and other...
  20. J

    Accretion of specific minerals from seawater

    I understand the process of electro-accretion of limestone from seawater. I was wondering if anyone had any links to information regarding the accretion of specific minerals from seawater...such as gold or silicon. I remember reading something a long time ago that you could modify the...
  21. G

    Minerals vs Cells: Comparing Composition & Structure

    what is the difference between a mineral and a cell? is a mineral made out of cells? what is the chemical composition of a mineral as opposed to a cell (preferably the simplest cell, a unicellar organism)??
  22. T

    Detecting Minerals through chemistry

    What is a way to detect minerals through rocks? For example soaking water in some rocks cause the rock to change a certain color to indicate that it has a certain mineral. I'm doing magnesium in lava flows in the island of Hawaii. Yes I live in Hawaii. If you could give me some ideas that would...