What is the difference between a rock and minerals? What is the difference between a sugar cookie and the flour, sugar, milk and eggs? The flour, sugar, milk and eggs are the ingredients that are put together to make the final product: the sugar cookie. The ingredients make the cookie. A bag of flour is just pure flour, as is a bag of sugar. The cookie is a mixture. This is the same with rocks and minerals. A mineral is only one thing, it is pure in a way. Gold (Au) is only gold, it is an element. Galena (PbS) is just
This is the same with rocks and minerals. A mineral is only one thing, it is pure in a way. Gold (Au) is only gold, it is an element. Galena (PbS) is just galena, it is a compound of lead (Pb) and sulfur (S) and nothing else – it is pure (PbS). A rock is a product made from combining different minerals together. A rock is a mixture.
A rock is a product made from combining different minerals together. A rock is a mixture. Granite is a rock that is made from three different minerals (quartz, biotite mica, and potassium feldspar).
Minerals = pure chemical makeup. Just a single element or compound
Rock = mixture of minerals
Section 2 Mineral definition
To be defined as a mineral it must meet 5 requirements.
- Solid at room temperature.
- Naturally occurring in nature.
- Definite chemical makeup.
- Has a definite crystal structure.
Let’s look deeper into what each item means.
- Solid at room temperature: a liquid can not be a mineral. Water is not a mineral.
- Naturally occurring: it can not be man-made. Glass is made by man so it is not a mineral. An aluminum soda can is not a mineral – even though the aluminum is a mineral the aluminum can is not because man made the “can”.
- Inorganic: inorganic means not from a living thing, not a plant or animal. Organic means it is part of life as know it here on earth. Earth has mostly carbon-based life-forms, both plants, and animals.
Organic: living – from plants or animals
Inorganic: not living, never had lived, not from plants or animals at all
- Definite chemical makeup: it is pure elements or pure compound, not a mixture.
- Has a definite crystal structure: the atoms are arranged and joined in a pattern. The crystal shape is based on the arrangement of the atoms. There are 6 different shapes and several mineral properties which are determined by the internal arrangement of atoms.
Section 3 Properties used to Identify and Name Minerals
The definition of a mineral (section 2) can tell us if it is a mineral or not, but it does not tell us which mineral it is. It can not give us a name.
The definition of a dog is a carnivorous mammal, Canis lupus familiaris. The picture on the right (fig. 3.1) is, by definition a dog. However, we do not know what the dog’s name is yet.
If it has a white tip tail and paws, a white chest and muzzle, and a red collar, it’s name is Rover and it belongs to Jose.
This section is about how to identify and name a mineral.