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Minerals: Advanced


       This page is dedicated to some of the more interesting things about minerals, as well providing a greater understanding about them. Minerals are mostly known for the way gemstones look or how minerals crystals can develop but there are many minerals found in your everyday life that you don't notice.


Mineralogy Help

     When I was in mineralogy (in the year 2000), learning over 100 minerals as well as their chemical formulas and properties was probably the hardest thing in geology I have ever done. So I made a study sheet that hopefully could help some of you. Just click on the box to download it.


Chemical Formula

Minerals are sorted according to their chemical formula.

The formula has 2 parts; the cation and the anion.

Cation - The first half of the chemical formula. It contains a positive charge is the mineral were to be dissolved.

Anion - The second half of the chemical formula. It contains a negative charge and what is used to categorized minerals.


Example #1 - HCl - Halite (AKA salt)

H - Cation

Cl - Anion

 - Grouped as Chloride (due to the Chlorine anion)

Example #2 - KAlSi3O8 - Orthoclase

KAl - Cation

Si3O8 - Anion

 - A silicate due to Si and O group


Most anions are more than one element (like Si and O) that form a tight bond that cannot be easily broken

Mineral Structure

The properties of a specific mineral always remain the same because the structure of a mineral is always the same. Sometimes there are two or more minerals with the same chemical formula, however different mineral structures produce minerals with different properties.


Graphite (both have C as their chemical formula) Diamond

Graphite Lattice                            Diamone Lattice

Since graphite is formed into sheets, it falls apart much more easily than diamond which is formed into an impenetrable lattice


Many mineral properties, like cleavage, are also a result of the crystal structure

                 Halite                                               Halite Structure

Halite         Halite Lattice

The square shape of the structure causes the mineral to break off in tiny cubes (a perfect example of cleavage in 3 directions @ 90°)