Science Study Guide: Minerals

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Key Terms:

Mineral- a naturally occurring, inorganic solid that has a crustal structure and a definite chemical composition

Rock- a large mass of stone

Organic- derived from living organisms

Inorganic- not derived from living organisms

Pure Substance- a form of matter that has a constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. It cannot be separated into its several components without breaking its chemical bonds.

Element- a substance composed of a single kind of atom

Molecule- the smallest physical unit of an element or compound, consisting of one or more like atoms in a element and two of more different atoms in a compound

Compound- a substance in which two or more elements are chemically joined

Mixture- any combination or blend of different elements, kinds, qualities, etc

Solution- a mixture in which one substance is dissolved in another

Mohs Scale- a scale ranking ten minerals from softest to hardest; used in testing the hardness of minerals

Streak- the color of a mineral’s powder

Luster- the way a mineral reflects light from it’s surface

Cleavage- a minerals ability to split easily along flat surfaces

Fracture- the way a mineral looks when it breaks apart in an irregular way

Vein- a narrow slab of mineral that is sharply different from the surrounding rock

Gemstone- a hard, colorful mineral that has a brilliant or glassy luster

Ore- rock that contains a mineral or economically useful mineral

Smelting- the process in which ore in melted to separate the useful metal from other elements

Alloy- a solid mixture of two or more minerals

Learning Targets:

Identify the characteristics of a mineral: Naturally occurring, inorganic, crystal structure, solid, and definite chemical composition.

Describe the properties of minerals: hardness, color, streak, crystal systems, cleavage, fracture, luster, and density

Explain how minerals are identified: Each mineral has its own specific...
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