Mineral 1.0Test your knowledge of specific minerals

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  SilicateActinolite
Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2

Other names/forms:
Tremolite

Most distinguishing features:
Habit and colour are best indicators.

  SulfateAlabaster
CaSO4 - 2H2O

Other names/forms:
Gypsum

Most distinguishing features:
Identified by hardness and good cleavage.

Industrial/economical uses:
Modern use is in gypsum wallboard used in construction. Used as an ornamental stone and for sculpture due to its softness.

  SilicateAntigorite
Mg3Si2O5(OH)4

Other names/forms:
Serpentine

Most distinguishing features:
Lustre, colour and habit are indicative.

  PhosphateApatite
Ca5(PO4)3(OH,F,Cl)

Most distinguishing features:
Colour, crystal habit and hardness are good indicators.

Industrial/economical uses:
Source of phosphate used in fertilizers and other industrial applications. Fluorine is also extractable from apatite.

  CarbonateAragonite
CaCO3

Most distinguishing features:
Stalactitic habit, hardness (greater than that of calcite) and colour.

Industrial/economical uses:
Same as calcite, however abundance is much much less than that of calcite, thus having little economic value.

  SulfideArsenopyrite
FeAsS

Most distinguishing features:
Gives off a garlic odour when crushed or heated. Colour is indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
A possible source of arsenic, however better secondary sources from smelting processes of other ores exist.

  SilicateAugite
(Ca,Na)(Mg,Fe,Al,Ti)(SiAl)2O6

Most distinguishing features:
Colour, cleavage and hardness are indicative of a pyroxene. Augite has 2 cleavage planes at 90.

Industrial/economical uses:
None.

  CarbonateAzurite
Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour is reliable, association with malachite is also indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
A minor ore of copper, also has ornamental uses. Sometimes a pigment (when powdered).

  SulfateBarite
BaSO4

Most distinguishing features:
High specific gravity is best indicator, colour and fracture are also helpful.

Industrial/economical uses:
Primary ore for barium, also used as an additive to drilling mud (because of high SG). Has over 2000 uses in industry.

  SilicateBiotite
K(Mg,Fe)3(AlSi3O10)(OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour and habit

Industrial/economical uses:
Altered into vermiculite, biotite is used as an insulation material and as filler in certain building supplies.

  SulfideBornite
Cu5FeS4

Other names/forms:
Peacock ore

Most distinguishing features:
Green-blue-purple iridescence is indicative, as is a brownish-bronze colour on fresh surfaces.

Industrial/economical uses:
Mined as an ore of copper, but not as important as chalcopyrite.

  CarbonateCalcite (massive)
CaCO3

Most distinguishing features:
Recognized by hardness and cleavage. Dolomite and aragonite have higher densities.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in the manufacture of portland cement (quicklime). Also used as a pharmaceutical (antacids, calcium supplements).

  CarbonateCalcite (sparry)
CaCO3

Other names/forms:
Iceland Spar

Most distinguishing features:
Hardness, crystal habit and twin striae are typical.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in the manufacture of portland cement (quicklime) and in the pharmaceutical industry.

  SilicateChalcedony
SiO2

Other names/forms:
Micro/Cryptocrystalline Quartz

Most distinguishing features:
Identified by hardness and texture/habit.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used for making glass and as a source of Silicon.

  SulfideChalcocite
Cu2S

Most distinguishing features:
Black colour with sooty appearance on weathered surfaces and sectile character are distinctive. Bronze-yellow on fresh surfaces.

Industrial/economical uses:
Mined as a source of copper.

  SulfideChalcopyrite
CuFeS2

Most distinguishing features:
Distinctive brassy-green colour. Has a richer yellow colour than pyrite and a lower hardness.

Industrial/economical uses:
Mined for its copper which has innumerable industrial uses.

  SilicateChlorite
(Mg,Fe,Al)3(Si,Al)4O10(OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour and its low hardness are distinguishing characteristics.

Industrial/economical uses:
None, however chlorite schist sometimes does have ornamental uses.

  OxideChromite
FeCr2O4

Most distinguishing features:
Resembles magnetite and ilmenite, but not very magnetic and has a more resinous lustre.

Industrial/economical uses:
Only ore mineral for chromium.

  SilicateChrysotile
Mg3Si2O5(OH)4

Other names/forms:
Serpentine

Most distinguishing features:
Habit and colour and most indicative properties.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in 98% of world's production of asbestos.

  Native elementCopper
Cu

Most distinguishing features:
Colour and metallic characteristics are diagnostic.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used as electrical wire due to electrical conductivity and relatively low price.

  OxideCorundum
Al2O3

Most distinguishing features:
Hardness is best indicator, crystal habit is good too.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used as a gemstone. High-quality ruby can be more valuable than diamond. Corundum is also used as an abrasive in sandpaper, polishing compounds, etc.

  CarbonateDolomite
CaMg(CO3)2

Most distinguishing features:
Harder than calcite

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in manufacture of portland cement.

  SilicateEpidote
Ca2(Fe,Al)3(SiO4)3(OH)

Most distinguishing features:
Slight colour difference between this mineral and olivine, but only under magnification (where details in the crystals can be seen). Also indicitive is the presence of a cleavage plane.

Industrial/economical uses:
Semiprecious gemstone

  HalideFluorite
CaF2

Most distinguishing features:
Cubic crystals, hardness and colour indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
Main source of fluorine (which is added to drinking water, toothpaste, used as a flux in industrial uses and as part of CFCs)

  SulfideGalena
PbS

Most distinguishing features:
Gives off a rotten-egg smell in HCl, very high SG, very metallic lustre.

Industrial/economical uses:
Main ore from which lead is extracted, also a source of silver.

  SilicateGarnet
(Mg,Fe,Ca)3Al2(SiO4)3

Other names/forms:
Pyrope, Grossular, Almandine

Most distinguishing features:
Crystal habit, colour and hardness.

Industrial/economical uses:
Abrasives (particularly sandpaper), semi-precious gemstone.

  Native elementGraphite
C

Most distinguishing features:
Softness and lustre are best indicators.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in pencil leads and as a dry lubricant.

  HalideHalite
NaCl

Other names/forms:
Salt

Most distinguishing features:
Has a salty taste. Cubic cleavage and hardness are indicative for the less brave geologists.

  OxideHematite (massive)
Fe2O3

Other names/forms:
Haematite

Most distinguishing features:
Deep red streak and earthy lustre are indicative. SG may also be indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
Important ore or iron, sometimes used as a gemstone.

  OxideHematite (specular)
Fe2O3

Other names/forms:
Haematite

Most distinguishing features:
Shining gray metallic lustre and deep-red streak are indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
Important ore of iron.

  SilicateHornblende
Ca2(Mg,Fe)4Al(Si7Al)O22(OH,F)2

Most distinguishing features:
Prominent striations, prismatic crystals and angle on cleavages is distinguishing.

Industrial/economical uses:
Ornamental.

  SilicateKaolinite
Al2Si2O5(OH)4

Most distinguishing features:
Distinctive "clayey" smell, hardness and colour are indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
Paper coating/filler, drilling mud additive, ceramics, cosmetics, building supplies, cement, pharmaceuticals and even food.

  SilicateKyanite
Al2SiO5

Most distinguishing features:
Bladed habit, colour, and difference of hardness along and across cleavages

  HydroxideLimonite
FeO(OH) - nH2O

Most distinguishing features:
Colour is best indicator, followed by habit.

  OxideMagnetite
Fe3O4

Most distinguishing features:
Highly magnetic. Habit and colour are also indicators.

Industrial/economical uses:
Mined for iron. Crushed magnetite also been used as aggregate to make high-density concrete for specialized applications, such as nuclear reactors.

  CarbonateMalachite
Cu2(CO)3(OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour is primary indicator, as well as habit.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used as a minor ore of copper and also has ornamental uses due to vivid green colour.

  SulfideMarcasite
FeS2

Most distinguishing features:
Bronze-yellow colour and habit are indicative. Streak is also helpful.

Industrial/economical uses:
Can be used as source of sulfur and iron, but not normally economically valuable.

  SulfideMolybdenite
MoS2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour is best indicator. Greasy feel and luster are good as well, as is its relative softness.

Industrial/economical uses:
Primary ore of which molybdenum is mined. Usually alloyed with iron.

  SilicateMuscovite
KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour and habit are best indicators.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in the electronics industry in the manufacture of capacitors, transistors, insulators and certain window types. Also used as a filler in building materials.

  SilicateNepheline
(Na,K)AlSiO4

Most distinguishing features:
Resembles quartz but instead is softer.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in the manufacture of ceramics and glass.

  SilicateOlivine
Mg2SiO4 - Fe2SiO4

Other names/forms:
Forsterite (Mg) and Fayalite (Fe)

Most distinguishing features:
Pistachio-green colour and granular habit.

Industrial/economical uses:
Peridote (a translucent variety of olivine) is considered a 'gem' mineral. Also used as a refractory sand and infrequently as an abrasive.

  SilicateOrthoclase
KAlSi3O8

Other names/forms:
Kspar

Most distinguishing features:
Colour and evidence of exsolution with plagioclase.

  SilicatePlagioclase
CaAl2Si2O8

Other names/forms:
Anothite (Ca), Albite (Na)

Most distinguishing features:
Parallel striations and white-gray colour separates this mineral from orthoclase (Kspar).

Industrial/economical uses:
Concrete, filler, sand, gravel, etc.

  SulfidePyrite (crystalline)
FeS2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour, hardness, streak and habit are best indicators. Gives off sparks when struck with a hard metal object.

Industrial/economical uses:
May be used as source of iron or sulfur, but not normally of economic value.

  SulfidePyrite (massive)
FeS2

Most distinguishing features:
Colour, hardness, streak and habit are best indicators. Gives off sparks when struck with a hard metal object.

Industrial/economical uses:
May be used as source of iron or sulfur, but not normally of economic value.

  OxidePyrolusite
MnO2

Most distinguishing features:
Will leave sooty marks if touched.

Industrial/economical uses:
Manganese is used to colour bricks.

  SilicateQuartz (crystal)
SiO2

Most distinguishing features:
Hardness, translucency and colour are indicators.

  SilicateQuartz (massive)
SiO2

Most distinguishing features:
Hardness and fracture.

  SilicateQuartz (smoky)
SiO2

Most distinguishing features:
Hardness, colour and translucency are indicative.

  SulfateSelenite
CaSO4 - 2H2O

Other names/forms:
Gypsum

Most distinguishing features:
Single large crystals of gypsum, typified by hardness and transparency.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used in gypsum wallboard.

  CarbonateSiderite
FeCO3

Most distinguishing features:
Identified by colour and hardness.

Industrial/economical uses:
Sometimes used as an iron ore. Also used in pigments where a red or brown colour is desirable.

  SulfideSphalerite
ZnS

Most distinguishing features:
Low specific gravity distinguishes it from galena, as does colour. Lustre also indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
Main ore of which zinc is extracted.

  SilicateStaurolite
Fe2Al9O6(SiO4)4(O,OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
The "staurolite cross" and colour are indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
Used as an abrasive due to its high hardness.

  SulfideStibnite
Sb2S3

Most distinguishing features:
Colour and small subhedral crystals are indicators. Also rather soft.

Industrial/economical uses:
Important source of antimony (Sb)

  SilicateTalc
Mg3Si4O10(OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
Mineral is very soft and are often compact masses. Colour is typical and varies to brown, green or gray.

  SilicateTopaz
Al2SiO4(F,OH)2

Most distinguishing features:
Resembles quartz, but harder.

Industrial/economical uses:
Gemstone

  SilicateTourmaline
Na(Mg,Fe,Li,Mn,Al)3Al6(BO3)3Si6O18(OH,F)4

Most distinguishing features:
Columnar crystals and vertical striations are characteristic, also has poor cleavage.

Industrial/economical uses:
Gemstone. Due to piezoelectric properties, it is also used in the manufacture of pressure gauges and other electronic components.

  SilicateTremolite
Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2

Other names/forms:
Actinolite

Most distinguishing features:
Noticable habit of white acicular grains.

Industrial/economical uses:
Sometimes used as an asbestos mineral, and thus linked as a health hazard.

  SilicateWollastonite
CaSiO3

Most distinguishing features:
Resembles tremolite, but has different cleavage.

Industrial/economical uses:
Replacement for chrysotile asbestos in fire-resistant building supplies. Also used in paints, film and plastics.

  SilicateZircon
ZrSiO4

Most distinguishing features:
Excellent crystalline habit, density and streak/colour are indicative.

Industrial/economical uses:
Source of zirconium and hafnium