Rocks and Minerals
A short definition
It is often a bit confusing what's a mineral and what should be considered a rock. This short article explains the scientific definitions and gives some examples on what is what...
A mineral, by definition, is any naturally occurring, inorganic substance, often additionally characterized by an exact crystal structure. Its chemical structure can be exact, or can vary within limits. Elements that occur naturally are also considered minerals.
All minerals belong to a chemical group, which represents their affiliation with certain elements or compounds. The classified chemical groups are known as: Elements, Sulfides, Oxides, Halides, Carbonates, Nitrates, Borates, Sulfates, Chromates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates, Tungstates, molybdates, and Silicates. Some of these chemical groups have sub-categories, which may be categorized in some mineral references as separate groups.
The best way to define a rock is to say that it is an indefinite mixture of naturally occurring substances, mainly minerals. Its composition may vary in containment of minerals and organic substances, and are never exact. They can range from tiny microscopic grains of minerals or organic substances to coarse agglomerates of different minerals, where the individual minerals are easily discernible. They may range in size from tiny pebbles to huge mountains. Rocks make up the earth's crust. Many rocks are not solid -- such as magma, soil, and clay. In general, the only people interested in rocks are geologists and paleontologist who are interested in the scientific nature and dating of the rocks. Different mineral deposits can be found in related rock formations, providing use by estimating what minerals rock formations may contain.
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Giving most minerals its form
We all are fascinated by the beauty of the big shiny gems and crystals one can admire in museums, mineral showrooms and thelike. For many these exhibits are the starting point for collecting rocks and minerals by themselves...
What is a mineral?
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid formed through geological processes that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. A rock, by comparison, is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids, and need 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. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.
Fossil and mineral collecting
An interesting hobby many share
Today many people are interested in collecting minerals and especially fossils since these offer a fascinating glimpse into times long forgotten. Nevertheless especially when searching for fossils some codes of conduct should be known and respected...
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