How to define mineral

How to define mineral

Definition of minerals can be fascinating and at the same time difficult. There are ways of definition of minerals on morphological and on chemical signs. It is possible to define by the first rather truly widespread minerals, with a minimum of devices. Only the attention and accuracy is necessary. Each definition becomes some kind of research and, having shortly repeated the way passed by science it is at top of a joyful event – solutions let small, but secrets. So arm with all necessary and at way!

It is required to you

  • Fresh sample of mineral.
  • Glass splinter, rhinestone, porcelain unglazed plate / crock or clean sheet of paper, torch, magnetic needle or compass, 10% hydrochloric acid, penknife.
  • Determinant of minerals


1. Define quality of gloss of your sample – metal or nonmetallic (glass, diamond, silky, nacreous, fat, wax). Define gloss on the fresh, not oxidized break. Having defined gloss, you will select the corresponding item of the reference book and you pass to the following parameters of definition.

2. Establish the hardness of your sample. Define whether the nail leaves a scratch on mineral. At the negative answer define whether mineral leaves a scratch on glass or on rhinestone. Only the most solid minerals leave scratches on rhinestone – corundum, topaz and diamond. Proceeding from answers, choose the corresponding pages of determinant for further definition.

3. Define color of mineral and quality of the mark left by it on a white, unglazed porcelain plate. Carry out by mineral on porcelain and find out whether there is in general a trace, and if yes, what color. In the absence of porcelain, you poskoblit mineral a knife, consider color of the turned-out powder and pound it on a clean sheet of paper. Receiving certain results, choose the corresponding references of a key of determinant. Further you see off those, experiments with a sample which are required according to the description of determinant.

4. Define color on a fresh break of a sample. Also you need to distinguish whether the salty, bitterish and salty or bitter and salty taste has mineral, or has no it at all. Check it by practical consideration on a clean break. If it is required to define mineral burning, break away a small piece and by means of tweezers enter it into a torch flame. Define, the sample burns, melts or does not give in to burning.

5. Define visually type of a break of your sample. The break depends on the crystal structure of mineral and hardness. The break can be smooth, rakovisty, earthy, zanozisty. Together with a break define a mineral spaynost at once – ability of mineral to break up or be split in certain directions. For example, mica has a spaynost in one direction – is well divided into thin leaflets, and rock salt has a spaynost in three directions – breaks up into crystals of the correct cubic form. Use a knife for splitting.

6. Use a compass or a magnetic needle if it is required to define magnetization of mineral. Just bring a sample to the arrow suspended on a needle, it will be attracted to a sample if it contains iron. And for determination of content of carbonates take solution of hydrochloric acid – under its influence some minerals "boil", i.e. emit carbon dioxide. All this signs which will be required to you for morphological definition of minerals by means of determinant.

Author: «MirrorInfo» Dream Team