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 o... More » Science Earth Science Geology

Sugar is not a mineral because it comes from a plant source. In order to be considered a mineral, a substance must be naturally occurring, solid and inorganic. More » Science Chemistry Atoms & Molecules

Minerals are most commonly classified by the Dana system. Minerals are identified according to hardness, specific gravity, color, luster, streak, cleavage and crystal form. More » Science Earth Science Geology
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Crushing different minerals creates different types of limes, two of which are agricultural lime (calcium carbonate) and magnesite (magnesium carbonate). Other limes, such as burnt lime (calcium oxide), hydrated lime (ca... More » Science Earth Science Geology

The Mohs scale indicates the hardness of minerals by noting how scratch resistant they are. The test was developed in 1812 by the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs. Diamond, the hardest known substance, is a 10 on the M... More » Science Earth Science Geology

Non-metallic minerals are minerals that have no metallic luster and break easily. These are also called industrial materials and are typically some form of sediment. Non-metallic minerals are not malleable. More » Science Earth Science Geology

Several methods exist to identify minerals, including the streak test, the Mohs hardness scale, the fracture test and the acid test. Based on these tests and the mineral's physical appearance, scientists can identify wha... More » Science Earth Science Geology