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Mineral Sites

What are Minerals?

A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids (A mineraloid is a mineral-like substance that does not demonstrate crystallinity. Mineraloids possess chemical compositions that vary beyond the generally accepted ranges for specific minerals. For example, obsidian is an amorphous glass and not a crystal. Jet is derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure. Opal is another mineraloid because of its non-crystal nature. Pearl, considered by some to be a mineral because of the presence of calcium carbonate crystals within its structure, would be better considered a mineraloid because the crystals are bonded by an organic material, and there is no definite proportion of the components. -- from Wikipedia)  and does not have a specific chemical composition. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms.

Differences between minerals and rocks

A mineral is a naturally occurring solid with a definite chemical composition and a specific crystalline structure. A rock is an aggregate of one or more minerals. (A rock may also include organic remains and mineraloids.) Some rocks are predominantly composed of just one mineral. For example, limestone is a sedimentary rock composed almost entirely of the mineral calcite. Other rocks contain many minerals, and the specific minerals in a rock can vary widely. Some minerals, like quartz, mica or feldspar are common, while others have been found in only four or five locations worldwide. The vast majority of the rocks of the Earth's crust consist of quartz, feldspar, mica, chlorite, kaolin, calcite, epidote, olivine, augite, hornblende, magnetite, hematite, limonite and a few other minerals.  From Wikipedia

For more information on rocks go to the Rocks page by clicking HERE.

Mineral Classification

Minerals are divided into nine (9) broad classifications. They are typically classified based on the negatively charged (anionic) portion of their chemical composition. For example, copper oxide (CuO) consists of copper (Cu++) and oxygen (O--) ions, and the negatively charged oxygen ion puts it in the “Oxide” classification (which also includes iron oxide, titanium dioxide, etc).