Where Do Minerals Come From?

Minerals come from the Earth’s crust, and they are found in various places throughout the world. Geological processes, such as metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous processes, are responsible for the concentration of minerals. Mineral deposits form into different shapes and sizes depending on the location and process of concentration.

New mineral deposits form when high temperatures and pressures are applied to rocks, causing rocks to have changing physical and chemical properties. Some are dissolved by hot liquids in the Earth’s crust and crystallize as fluids move and cool. This leads to the formation of economic deposits in the Earth’s crust.

Numerous minerals are found in igneous rocks, which are formed when liquid magma cools and crystallizes. Additionally, minerals have different physical properties that influence their behavior in surface weathering. For example, gold is typically heavy, so it collects in stream beds. Minerals like gypsum and calcium carbonate precipitate from water due to changing chemical conditions. Mineral sands, such as titanium minerals, get sorted by waves and end up forming deposits on beaches.

Through mineral exploration, mineral deposits suited for commercial exploitation are found and used. When mineral deposits are found, they are extracted from the ground and valuable minerals within them are taken. Mineral resources are generally categorized into metallic and nonmetallic. Examples of metallic resources include gold, silver, tin and copper while examples of nonmetallic resources include gravel, sand and halite.