Properties of minerals include:
  • Crystal form (shape)
  • Cleavage
  • Hardness
  • Streak
  • Fracture
  • Color
  • Luster
  • Transparency
  • Specific gravity
  • Magnetism

What exactly is a property in general?
A property is a characteristic (or attribute) that all the members of a group of objects possess. For example, color is a property. Color is a characteristic that all minerals possess although individual colors may vary.

Why are we learning about the properties of minerals?
Minerals can be identified and classified based on their properties. For example, certain minerals such as quartz and feldspar can be pink in color. Pinkness rules out the possibility a mineral might be pyrite. On the other hand, pinkness along does not let us tell apart quartz from feldspace.

Identification of mineral types usually requires determination of a number of properties. Quartz may be identified when a mineral sample is pink in color, 7 in hardness and has conchoidal fracture.

The specific properties of minerals make them useful or interesting to us
For example - diamonds make excellent gemstones becuase they are extremely hard and resistant to scratching. At the same time, they have an unusual luster that reflects light more brilliantly than quartz. Certain clay minerals can absorb a lot of liquid, making inexpensive if heavy and dusty cat litter.

Observe & Discuss:

Station - Which of these is a rock?

The properties of minerals are important because:
1. It allows us to identify the mineral
2. We may be interested in using mineral materials with particular properties

Note: You cannot identify most minerals based on just one property. However, the posession of several properties may distinguish a particular mineral from others.

  • Color - TBA

  • Density - TBA

  • Harness - TBA

  • Fracture - TBA

  • Etc. - TBA