Minerals Properties Lab (older)


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


Mineral name Chemical formula Describe the luster
1. galena PbS
2. chalcedony SiO2
3. limonite Fe2O3 · H2O
4. Which two of these have a nonmetallic luster?  


Mineral name Chemical formula Describe the color
5. fluorite CaF2
6. pyrrhotite FeS
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 CuFeS2
10. galena PbS
11. specular hematite Fe2O3
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
13. Al2O3
14. Mg3Si4O10(OH)2
15. KAlSi3O8


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 Mg3Si4O10(OH)2
17. magnetite Fe3O4
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 KAl3Si3O10(OH)2
20. quartz SiO2
21. calcite CaCO3

Special Properties

Mineral name Chemical formula Describe a special property
22. magnetite FexOy
23. sulfur S
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 NaCl
27. malachite Cu2CO3(OH)2