How Many Types of Minerals Are There?

More than 4,000 minerals are officially recognized, and up to 100 new ones are described yearly. Minerals are rocks or sand that have more than one element in their structure. Quartz, for example, is a mineral composed of silicon and oxygen.

Minerals are naturally occurring solids formed by geological processes. Water is not considered a mineral in its liquid form, but its ice form is considered the most common mineral on the Earth's surface.

Mineral grains accrete to form rocks, which comprise the solid ground of our planet. A rock can have several minerals in its composition or just one. Granite contains quartz, albite and orthoclase, while sandstone compromises just quartz.