Different Properties of Minerals

Luster

The luster of a mineral is basically the way a mineral reflects light. During a lab, this can be identified just by shining a light on the mineral. There are many different kinds of luster such as Metallic, waxy, silky, greasy, vitreous (glassy), pearly, and dull. (example pictures are metallic, waxy, silky, and greasy)

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Hardness

Another property is hardness. This property is observed by how easily a mineral is scratched by another mineral. Also, the Mohs scale of mineral hardness can help you when identifying the hardness of a mineral. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a scale that is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly. The hardness value is written down as numbers. (Chart below)

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Streak

The streak of a mineral is the color of the powder left when you scrape a mineral across a porcelain tile. This property is not always testable for all minerals because some minerals are too hard and will not leave a trail. The streak colors can vary depending on the type of mineral.

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Density

The density is the heaviness of a mineral relative to its size. This basically means that the mineral can be extremely heavy even if it was extremely small in size. Density is important because it is a property that can help you identify a substance. Also, the density of a pure substance stays the same regardless of the size of the sample.

Cleavage

The cleavage of a mineral is the pattern some minerals make when it is broken. Some examples of cleavages can be basal cleaveage, cubic cleavage, and rhombic cleavage.

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Fracture

Fracture is when a rock breaks without a specific pattern. Some examples of fracture is uneven and conchoidal. Conchoidal fracture is when the rock's surface is characterized as smooth and curved.

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How minerals are used