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Mineral Lab Geology

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Objectives of testing minerals in the lab are as following:

  • To find out major characteristics of minerals and how they can be distinguished from other minerals;
  • To differentiate the attributes of the minerals;
  • To determine chemical composition of the minerals.

Background

The vocabularies in this lab test include:

  1. Color
  2. Density
  3. Texture
  4. Hardness
  5. Shape
  6. Feel

Minerals have definite chemical composition. They are naturally occurring, organic elements with distinctive features. They are crystalline in their natural structure, and distinctive in their chemical properties. Minerals have to be natural in their purity of origin lest they be classified as man-made substances. Some minerals have high economic value and have to be preserved. In addition, they are components of rocks.

Minerals are distinctive; most of them have characteristics that are in the majority of cases are used to identify them. Halite is commonly used as table salt, which is made up of sodium: the eleventh element and seventeenth element (Chlorine) are among the bet example in this experiment. The known characteristics of halite are in its cubic and crystal shape. In addition, it has no color, but has a salty taste. Quartz also has distinct characteristics. Firstly, it has crystal shape. Secondly, it is a six-sided prism with a terminating six-sided pyramid at every end. At its natural foam, its crystals are twinned, shapeless, and they do show only part of their shape. In the trigonal crystal system, they have the space group of P3121 and P321 respectively. These are among the characteristics that shall help in determining the minerals under study.

Methods

In the lab, the major task at the workstation is to identify the major characteristics of minerals. The characteristics that are to be determined include cleavage, density texture, shape, color, and hardness.

Before getting to the lab, one has to have “Mineral Cards” in each station, which have the questions that the student should answer. The card has to be put in front of the mineral. In an event, the card asks that the mineral have to be scratched, ensure that there is a correct tool for carrying out that procedure.

The composition of each mineral has to be reviewed in the lab usinng the Periodic Table Placement. The card that comes with the specimen can be used to carry out this procedure. The student has to follow the procedure as the direction is given out in the laboratory. The elements should be located in the periodic table as the instructor reads out the ingredients.

After the experiment in the lab, the observation has to be clearly stated to help in determining the mineral under study.

Data/Observation

The observation for the minerals under study is as follows:

  • Quart- this is a clear mineral. Its occurrence is evident in almost any color. It has a hexagonal shape and sides. This mineral is very hard to the extent that a nail or a steel knife cannot scratch it.
  • Fluorite- it splits into a polygon. It is also a hard substance. It has a glassy luster and a rich range of colors.
  • Gypsum- its crystals are tabular in shape and its color ranges from white to pink. It is softer than most minerals. It can easily be scratched.
  • Hematite- The mineral is metallic with smaller crystals. It has an appearance of shiny steel. It shows a red-brown flash when scratched with on porcelain.

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