Mineral Identification

  • Post category:Geology
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Mineral Identification

Mineral Identification
Mineral Identification

Geology Homework Help

Purpose: To learn the various properties of minerals and how to identify the major mineral groups and specific minerals using these properties.


This lab uses the GEODe program which is found on the following website www.masteringgeology.com (You will need to buy an access code).

Minerals are solids with an orderly arrangement of atoms formed by inorganic processes. They have definite chemical compositions and recognizable physical properties. Complex instrumentation and chemical procedures are used to identify some minerals. We will use physical properties that are easily recognized to identify some of the most common minerals. In this lab, we will examine the definition of a mineral, the main groups of minerals, the properties of minerals, and the identification of minerals. This lab is presented in two parts. Both parts need to be investigated to complete this lab.


1) Read the rest of the information on this exercise before starting the lab.

2) Print this page to refer to while using the Pearson Mastering Geology/Mastering Oceanography GEODe program.

3) Go to the following website www.masteringgeology.com and login. Login is as follows:

Login: [email protected]

Password: Pilar0525

4) Click on the tab at the top labeled “Study Area.” Look along the left-hand side of the screen and click on the GEODe Earth Science link.

5) Under Unit I EARTH MATERIALS, click on the A. Minerals link.

6) Navigate through the program and answer the questions below as you go. Remember, you can back up and repeat at anytime. This lab covers most of Frames 1-117, so stop when you get to Frame 117.

7) Remember to submit your lab report in the proper format under the “Lab Assignments” tab within Blackboard.

Questions – PART 1:

1) What is the main mineral ingredient found in cosmetics?

2) What 3 minerals are found in granite (a rock)?

3) Using the definition of a mineral, determine whether or not the following substances are minerals. If it is a mineral, answer “Yes, this is a mineral.” If it is NOT a mineral explain why it is not by answering, “No, this is not a mineral because…” and provide the reason.

a) gold

b) synthetic diamonds

c) quartz

d) petroleum

e) animal bone

f) ice

g) granite

h) steel

4) What is the most common group of rock-forming minerals?


5) Name a silicate with low silicone content.

6) Name a silicate with high silicone content.

7) What determines the cleavage exhibited by silicates?

8) What is the cleavage difference between mica and quartz?

9) What are two major groups of the silicates? Name 2 minerals in each group.

10) Carbonates are a second rock-forming mineral group. Give two examples.

11) Name 2 other (not previously discussed) minerals found in sedimentary rocks.

12) Name 4 other mineral groups.

13) What is crystal form? Give two examples.

14) What is luster? Give two examples.

15) In Frames 63-68 you are asked to identify the luster of several minerals. Write the correct answer for each. Include the frame number with your answer.

16) Although important, why is color not always useful in identifying minerals?

17) What is streak?

18) Why is streak more valuable than color?

19) What does the Mohs scale measure?

20) What is the best description of the hardness of the clear mineral seen in Frames 76-78? Why? Include the frame number with your answer

Part I ends with Frame 78.

Questions – PART II:

1) What is cleavage?

2) What is an example of a mineral with one plane of cleavage?

3) What is an example of a mineral with three planes of cleavage?

4) What is a goniometer? What is the cleavage angle in Frame 88?

5) What are the cleavage angles of hornblende?

6) How many cleavage directions are in a mineral with dodecahedral cleavage?

7) What is the mineral in Frame 100 and how many planes of cleavage does it have?

8) What is the mineral in Frame 101 and how many planes of cleavage does it have?

9) What is the mineral in Frame 103 and how many planes of cleavage does it have?

10) What is a mineral that fractures rather than has cleavage?

11) What is another name for the mineral commonly called “asbestos”?

12) What is the fracture style of the mineral from frame 110?

13) What is the specific gravity of most common minerals?

14) What are 4 other properties used to identify minerals