Identifying Minerals

All minerals are natural resources. They are found in nature. They are not man-made. Minerals have a crystal structure. Rocks are different because they can be combinations of different minerals. They can be mixtures of different chemicals. But minerals have specific chemical and physical properties.

Minerals can be identified by their physical properties. A physical property is something you can see, feel, taste, or smell. You can learn to identify many common minerals. Some minerals are usually one color, but some can be different colors.

Some minerals have easy to see physical properties. For example, some have a crystal shape like quartz crystals. Some have grainy fibers like asbestos.

Some minerals are very hard. Some are soft. Talc is a mineral that is so soft you can scratch it with your fingernail.

The way light is reflected from the mineral is called luster. Some minerals have a shiny, metallic luster. Some look like glass. Some look dull (the opposite of shiny), and some gleam like pearls.

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