Minerals Properties Lab


At each mineral property station complete the table and answer the question(s).


Mineral name Chemical formula Describe the luster
1. galena  
2. chalcedony  
3. limonite  
4. Which two of these have a nonmetallic luster?  


Mineral name Chemical formula Describe the color
5. fluorite  
6. pyrrhotite  
7. amphibole CaNa(Mg or Fe)4(Al or Fe or Ti)3Si6O22(O or OH)2
8. Why isn't color a reliable identifier of minerals?  



Mineral name Chemical formula Describe the streak color
9. chalcopyrite  
10. galena  
11. specular hematite  
12. What is surprising about the color of one of these streaks?  


Remember: see if the mineral first scratches your fingernail, then if it scratches the penny, and finally the glass. With only three tools to use you will only be able to give a range of Mohs hardness.

Mineral name Chemical formula Range of Mohs Hardness numbers
14. Mg3Si4O10(OH)2



Rather than measure the actual specific gravity of the mineral samples, we will gauge the 'heft' or the relative weight of the samples.

Mineral name Chemical formula Heavier or lighter?
16. gypsum  
17. magnetite  
18. How would looking at the chemical formula help you answer heavier or lighter?  

Cleavage / Fracture

Remember that when glass breaks it shows fracture.

Mineral name Chemical formula Does the mineral exhibit cleavage or fracture?
19. muscovite  
20. quartz  
21. calcite  


Special Properties

Mineral name Chemical formula Describe a special property
22. magnetite  
23. sulfur  
24. Why are there variables (x and y) in the chemical formula for magnetite?  
25. What other minerals in this lab might have the same special property as magnetite? Why do you think this?  

Crystal Form

Mineral name Chemical formula Does the mineral have regular (repeating pattern) or irregular crystalline shape?
26. halite  
27. malachite