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any coherent, naturally occurring, substance generally composed of minerals

rock cycle

any rock type can become any other rock type

three rock types

igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic

common non-rocks

beach sand, molten lava, concrete


a substance that is naturally occurring, inorganic, has a definite chemical composition, is a crystalline

tools for the identification of minerals

hardness, luster, color, streak, cleavage, fracture, cleavage vs. crystal form, and other miscellaneous properties


measure of the resistance of a mineral to scratching (non breakage)

Mohs Hardness Scale

softness = 1 and hardness = 10

hardness of a ceramic tile

between 5 and 6


the color of the powdery residue of a mineral left behind when it is dragged across an unglazed porcelain plate (hardness of porcelain plate = 6); streak is the same color regardless of the presence or absence of impurities on a mineral


streak provides the intrinsic color of a mineral; color is a poor identifier (sulfur is normally yellow and pyrite is normally brassy)


the way a mineral reflects light


looks like a metal such as gold, silver, iron etc.


vitreous, pearly, resinous (glazed), earthy


breakage of a mineral along a flat plane of weakness


uneven (non-planar) breakage

conchoidal fracture

obsidian or quartz; breaks along a surface marked by concentric circles

splintery fracture

like splinter in a wood


a catch-all term for non-diagnostic; non-planar breakage

crystal form

how a mineral grows; of a crystal grows out of an apparent flat cleavage face, the face isn't cleavage - it is crystal form

mineral classification: metals

combined with oxygen = oxide minerals; combined with sulfur = sulfide minerals; not combined with other elements = native (native gold, native copper, etc.)

mineral classification: silicates

Si is an important ingredient


(Fe and Mg); dark and dense

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