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The Amazing World of Minerals Photos:

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Presentation on theme: "The Amazing World of Minerals Photos:"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Amazing World of Minerals Photos:

2 Cueva de los cristales, Naica Mine, Mexico Series of gypsum filled caves found at 950ft depth in a mine 122ºF!! 100% humidity!! Explorers and scientists must wear refrigerated space suits to avoid being boiled alive Even with the suits they can only remain in the caves for 10 minutes Gypsum seems to have formed in unusually saturated geothermal fluids associated with a nearby fault Exploration continues today Photos: La Venta Exploring Team

3 Why are minerals important? Short Answer: You can’t live without them! Bauxite Aluminum Halite Salt Diamond Cutting tools, getting married Feldspar Ceramics, porcelain Quartz Watches, radios, glass Borax Soap, cosmetics, fire retardant, fiberglass, fertilizer, insecticide, airplanes, medicine! Zeolites Water purification, catalysts, medicine Uraninite Nuclear power, x-rays

4 Uses of minerals in geology Determining Ages of rocks Tectonic environment Compositions of source magma Pressure and temperature histories of rocks Reaction rates Past strain recorded in rocks Paleomagnetism Economic ores The chemical make-up of the Earth and how elements are exchanged

5 Mineral Identification Since every mineral is chemically and structurally unique, every mineral has properties that can be used to distinguish it from other minerals A major purpose of this class will be give you the confidence to identify minerals in the field so you can use them to answer geological questions

6 Common Properties for Mineral Identification Color- many minerals have a characteristic color –Ex: Epidote is almost always green –Ex: Sulfur is almost always yellow However, minerals such as quartz, tourmaline and garnet can be virtually any color QuartzGarnet Tourmaline

7 Hardness Most used method is the Mohs Scale 1)Talc 2) Gypsum 3) Calcite4) Fluorite 5) Orthoclase 6) Apatite 7) Quartz 8) Topaz 9) Corundum 10) Diamond Minerals with a lower number will be scratched by minerals with a higher number Mohs scale is relative (diamond is 10x harder than corundum) Fingernail=2.5Penny=3 Iron=4-5 Knife=5.5Glass=6-7

8 Luster A description of the way light interacts with the surface of a mineral or rock Luster descriptions include metallic, earthy, waxy, greasy, glassy, silky, brilliant, dull, satin spar, soapy Pyrite metallic Quartz glassy Talc Soapy, pearly

9 Crystal Structure or Habit What shape is the crystal? BladedTabular Cube Dipyramidal Prism Rhombohedron Also descriptions like fibrous, platy, massive, equant, acicular are helpful

10 Cleavage and Fracture Cleavage occurs along specific planes of weakness in a mineral. These planes are caused by the molecular structure of the mineral. Crystals with good cleavage like calcite or mica will always break parallel to the same plane. Number, quality and angular relationships between cleavage planes are important Minerals with no cleavage like quartz will fracture –Conchoidal or uneven

11 Density (mass/volume) Low DensityHigh Density HaliteBarite GraphiteGalena

12 Streak Many minerals leave a characteristic streak color when scratched across a porcelain plate Other minerals have no streak

13 Mineral Assemblages/Tectonic Environment Minerals commonly occur with other characteristic minerals –Ex: Scarn minerals: Epidote, Calcite, Garnet, Scheelite –Ex: Hydrothermal sulfide deposits: Galena, Barite, Sphalerite, Pyrite, Fluorite, Calcite –Ex: Pegmatites: Tourmaline, Quartz, Lepidolite, Beryl, Muscovite, Feldspar Some minerals occur in specific environments –Ex: Zeolite minerals commonly grow in vesicles in igneous rocks –Ex: Evaporites commonly occur in desert playas

14 Fluorescence Some minerals glow in the presence of either short or long wave ultraviolet light. There are several minerals that exhibit this property some of which are calcite, diamond, fluorite, halite, scheelite and willemite. Fluorescence occurs on the atomic level in a mineral. The electrons of an atom each have a certain energy level called their 'ground state' (blue electrons). In fluorescent minerals, energy is absorbed by the atom increasing the energy of the electrons, causing them to jump to the next energy level (red electrons). This increase in energy level does not last long (approximately 10-8 seconds). When the electrons fall back to their ground state, the extra energy is emitted from the atom in the form of visible light (green sparkles).

15 Fluorescence Selenite Calcite FluoriteCalcite with zincite Diamond

16 Other Properties used for ID Optical Properties –Ulexite- fiber optic properties –Calcite- double refraction –Optical Microscopy HCl Acid –Calcite- fizzes when acid is applied Twinning –Orthoclase feldspar- Carlsbad twinning –Plagioclase- Albite twinning

17 Other Properties used for ID Magnetism –Magnetite- magnetic Smell –Sulfur- rotten eggs Alteration/Weathering –Hematite- rusts red –Olivine- alters to orange mineral called iddingsite Taste –Halite- salt –If it’s orange/red and you eat it and it kills you it was probably Orpiment/Realgar

18 Created by Nicolas Barth 2007 Geology 114A University of California, Santa Barbara Some images herein borrowed from websites have not been credited

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