These 32 Mineral Specimens Are Stunningly Beautiful

Mar 4, 2015Nature

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A mineral is a naturally occurring chemical compound, usually of crystalline form and abiogenic in origin. A mineral has one specific chemical composition, whereas a rock can be an aggregate of different minerals or mineraloids. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.

There are over 5,300 known mineral species; over 5,070 of these have been approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). The silicate minerals compose over 90% of the Earth’s crust. The diversity and abundance of mineral species is controlled by the Earth’s chemistry. Silicon and oxygen constitute approximately 75% of the Earth’s crust, which translates directly into the predominance of silicate minerals.

Minerals are distinguished by various chemical and physical properties. Differences in chemical composition and crystal structure distinguish the various species, which were determined by the mineral’s geological environment when formed. Changes in the temperature, pressure, or bulk composition of a rock mass cause changes in its minerals.

Minerals can be described by their various physical properties, which are related to their chemical structure and composition. Common distinguishing characteristics include crystal structure and habit, hardness, lustre, diaphaneity, colour, streak, tenacity, cleavage, fracture, parting, and specific gravity. More specific tests for describing mineral include magnetism, taste or smell, radioactivity and reaction to acid.

Minerals are classified by key chemical constituents; the two dominant systems are the Dana classification and the Strunz classification. The silicate class of minerals is subdivided into six subclasses by the degree of polymerization in the chemical structure. All silicate minerals have a base unit of a [SiO4]4− silica tetrahedron—that is, a silicon cation coordinated by four oxygen anions, which gives the shape of a tetrahedron. These tetrahedra can be polymerized to give the subclasses: orthosilicates (no polymerization, thus single tetrahedra), disilicates (two tetrahedra bonded together), cyclosilicates (rings of tetrahedra), inosilicates (chains of tetrahedra), phyllosilicates (sheets of tetrahedra), and tectosilicates (three-dimensional network of tetrahedra). Other important mineral groups include the native elements, sulfides, oxides, halides, carbonates, sulfates, and phosphates. ~ Wikipedia


These 32 Minerals Specimens
Are Stunningly Beautiful


Tree fossils with Opal growth rings


Source: etsy.com


Uvarovite

Source: flickr.com


Fluorite

Source: roywmacdonald.com


Kammererite

Source: exceptionalminerals.com


Hematite, Rutile, and Feldspar

Source: mindat.org


Torbernite (this one is radioactive)

Source: imgur.com


Clinoclase

Source: mindat.org


Vanadinite crystals on white Barite

Source: flickr.com


Fossilized egg? No it’s an Opal geode


Source:reddit.com


Blue Callaghanite on white Hydromagnesite

Source: mindat.org


Silver Stibnite with Barite

Source: wikimedia.org


Chalcanthite

Source: tumblr.com


Karpatite

Source: flickr.com


Cacoxenite

Source: scientificcomputing.com


Fluorite

Source: atlantisqueen.co


Labradorite

Source: carionmineraux.com


Black Opal

Source: reddit.com


Cuprosklodowskite (also radioactive)

Source: flickr.com


Blue Halite and Sylvite

Source: mindat.org


Fluorite

Source: reddit.com


Bismuth

Source: periodictable.com


Opal

Source: reddit.com


Tourmaline

Source: saphiraminerals.com


Bayldonite

Source: mindat.org


Osmium (the densest natural element)

Source: wikimedia.org


Malachite

Source: mindat.org


Emmonsite

Source: mindat.org


Aquamarine on Muscovite

Source: mindat.org


Pallasite Meteorite

Source: tumblr.com


Boleite

Source: tumblr.com


Crocoite

Source: awminerals.com

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