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Chapter 4 – Minerals

Review Questions

  1. What are the two most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust?

Silicon and oxygen

  1. These two elements form the backbone to the largest mineral family. What is this family and what is the backbone?

The silicate minerals in which the backbone is the silica tetrahedron.

  1. What is the least reliable test for identifying a mineral?


  1. Explain the differences between a compound and a mixture?

A compound is chemically combined to produce a new substance with new properties where a mixture is physically combined, and where each substance retains its original properties.

  1. What are the 5 criteria that a substance must follow in order to be classified as a mineral?

1) must be a solid

            2) must be inorganic

            3) must occur naturally

            4) atoms must appear in a regular repeating pattern

            5) must have a definite chemical composition

  1. What are the three ways in which a mineral can form?

1) compaction

    1. heating and cooling of magma
    2. minerals precipitating out of a solution (water evaporating and leaving mineral behind)
  1. Give an example of a substance that is not a mineral along with the reason why it cannot be a mineral.

Coal is not a mineral because it is organic, produced by the decay of plants. Glass and pearls are other examples.

  1. What are the four mineral groups that form rocks?

Silicates (silicon and oxygen)

            Iron oxides (iron and oxygen)

            Carbonates (carbon and oxygen)

            Sulfides (sulfur)

  1. What are the 5 physical properties of a mineral?

1) color

            2) luster

            3) hardness

            4) streak

            5) fracture / cleavage

  1. What is the difference between a rock and a mineral?

A mineral can be a rock, but a rock cannot be a mineral