GEOL-1010 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Hematite, Sphalerite, Corundum

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10 Sep 2016
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Geol 1010 – Lecture 3: Minerals and the Rock Cycle
Geology in the News
oT-rex skull found in Montana
oProbably from a teenage animal
oSkull is about 4 ft. long
oOnly the 15th T-rex skull ever found
Why do we care?
oRocks and minerals are the basic building components of everything in our world
oUsed for drywall, computer chips, rings, etc.
Atoms: The basic building blocks of all matter
oIt’s divided into the nucleus [has neutrons and protons] orbited by electrons
Protons: positive charge
Neutrons: no charge
Electrons: negative charge
Atomic Number: How many protons are in the nucleus of an atom; it also shows where it
is on the periodic table
Element: Substances and materials that only contain one type of atom
Chemistry of the Earth’s Crust
Element Approximate Percentage by Weight
Oxygen (O) 46.6
Silicon (Si) 27.7
Aluminum (Al) 8.1
Iron (Fe) 5.0
Calcium (Ca) 3.6
Sodium (Na) 2.8
Potassium (K) 2.6
Magnesium (Mg) 2.1
All Others 1.5
Total 100
What is a Mineral?
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o5 criteria for the definition of a mineral
1. Non-synthetic
Minerals have to form naturally
2. Inorganic
Inorganic talks about the types of molecules it has
oNon-living molecules = inorganic
oLiving molecules = organic
3. Crystalline
Molecules that make up minerals are always formed in a very
specific pattern
Amorphous: Doesn’t have a fixed geometric shape
Crystalline: Has a fixed geometric shape
4. Minerals are solids
The state is determined by temperature and pressure conditions
5. Has a set chemical composition
You can write a chemical formula that tells what is in the mineral
oSome substitutions can occur and it can still be considered a mineral
oMust meet all 5 of these criteria to be considered a mineral
Mineral Properties
oHow do we identify specific materials?
oMostly because there are about 4500 possible minerals on Earth
1. Color
Humans tend to be color-oriented
Some minerals have very diagnostic color and some don’t
oEx. Olivine = always green
oEx. Quartz = any and every color possible
Can identify the mineral by using the streak method
oStreak: Grinding the mineral into a powder and seeing
what color the powder is
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