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Minerals: What is a mineral?

Minerals are naturally occurring inorganic compounds ("non-living material").

  • A mineral is a solid material, made of one substance, that occurs naturally on Earth.
  • Most of the common minerals are made of crystals.
  • A Crystal is a solid formed by a repeating, three-dimensional pattern of atoms, ions, or molecules and having fixed distances between the different parts.
  • Minerals that do not grow in these regular or crystalline patterns are called Amorphous solids.
  • Some minerals can be both crystalline and amorphous.
  • The two photos below show a crystalline quartz specimen and an amorphous quartz specimen.


An example of crystalline and amorphous quartz

Now click here for more information on minerals!!


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