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Mineralogy & Petrography QAB1034

Lecture #2

Physical Properties of Minerals


Geoscience & Petroleum Engineering Department

QAB1034 Mineralogy & Petrography

Learning Outcomes
Students should be able to: Identify various categories of minerals through their physical properties. Differentiate between twinning, cleavage, fracture, hardness, SG, streak and origin.

Physical Properties of Minerals


These are the physical properties most useful for mineral identification:
Colour Luster Transparency Crystal Systems Crystal Habits Twinning Cleavage Fracture Hardness Specific Gravity Streak Associated Minerals Notable Localities

Habit: Terms
Acicular, Capillary, Filiform, Bladed, Dendritic, Radiating, Drusy, Fibrous Globular, Colloform, Foliated, Micaceous, Tabular, Lamellar, Plumose Granular, Columnar, Prismatic

Acicular
Slender, needle-like crystals: tourmaline, hornblende, arsenopyrite, rutile, apatite, sillimanite; selenite

Capillary and filiform


hair-like or thread-like: native Au, Ag, Cu

Bladed
elongated crystals flattened like a knife blade: kyanite, tremolite

Dendritic
arborescent, in slender divergent branches, somewhat plantlike--native metals, pyrolusite

Radiating
divergent: zeolite; tremolite; talc pyrolusite, tourmaline

Tourmaline

Tremolite

Drusy
surface covered with a layer of small crystals--sugar like: calcite, quartz, sphalerite, pyrite

Fibrous
chrysotile asbestos

Globular and colloform


radiating individuals forming small spherical groups examples include zeolites, quartz, malachite, goethite, pyrolusite, hematite

Botryoidal
bunch of grapes, example: heamatite, pyrolusite

Reniform
kidney like, examples hematite, malachite

Mammillary
Very large, example is malachite

Foliated
easily separable into plates or leaves: tremolite; hematite; graphite

Micaceous
similar to foliated but splits into very thin sheets: muscovite, biotite, chlorite

Tabular or lamellar
flat and platelike: barite, dolomite

Granular
composed of many individual grains of similar size: olivine, garnet

Prismatic or columnar
elongated crystals with identical faces parallel to a common direction: tourmaline, hornblende, apatite

Green tourmaline

Twinning
Crystals that are related to one another by some geometric relation.

Simple or Contact twins


e.g. the fish tail of gypsum

Penetrative
e.g. Carlsbad in Orthoclase

Polysynthetic (multiple)
e.g. Plagioclase

Cyclic
e.g. aragonite

CLEAVAGE AND PARTING


Cleavage is the easy breakage of a mineral along a plane surface or plane of weakness. A good example is the perfect cleavage in mica, which is parallel to 001. Parting occurs along twin planes

Biotite

Augite

Parting
Occurs when a mineral breaks along a twin plane, e.g. augite

TYPES OF MINERAL CLEAVAGE


Perfect: Very good breakage and the new surfaces are shiny, e.g. muscovite. Distinct: New surfaces broken by frequent irregular steps, e.g. orthoclase. Indistinct: Generally rough with only a few planar areas (generally not useful) e.g. corrundum.

PROBLEMS WITH MINERAL CLEAVAGE


Confusion between cleavage and faces Numbers of cleavages Intersection of cleavages

FRACTURE
Terms that are used to describe fracture are:
Conchoidal: quartz Hackly: jagged and sharp Fibrous and splintery Uneven or irregular: rough & irregular surfaces

Conchoidal
An example of obsidian

MOHS HARDNESS SCALE


This is a mineral's resistance to scratching. It is a relative scale. Minerals with higher numbers will scratch minerals below them on the scale.
1. Talc 2. Gypsum 3. Calcite 4. Fluorite 5. Apatite 6. Orthoclase 7. Quartz 8. Topaz 9. Corundum 10. Diamond

SPECIFIC GRAVITY
This is the ratio of the density of the mineral to the density of water. It is dimensionless quantity. Substances with a specific gravity greater than one are denser than water Weight Air/(Weight Air-Weight in water) = specific gravity (SG), or SG = substance/water

SPECIFIC GRAVITY
Increases with increasing atomic weight of the cation. For example in the orthorhombic carbonates:

Mineral
Aragonite Strontianite Witherite Cerrusite

Formula
CaCO3 SrCO3 BaCO3 PbCO3

Atomic Wt SG
Ca 40 Sr 87 Ba 137 Pb 207 2.95 3.76 4.29 6.55

Streak Colour
Streak is the colour of the powder of mineral, obtained by drawing the mineral across the unglazed porcelain streak plate. The trail of finely ground powder generally has a more consistent characteristic color, and is thus an important diagnostic tool in mineral identification. Streak is particularly important as a diagnostic for opaque and colored materials, not for silicate minerals.

Hematite

Notable Localities
Muscovite Russia Dolomite Italy Andalusite Spain Sarabauite Sarawak, Malaysia Malayaite Malaysia http://www.mindat.org/

CONCLUSION
The twinning, cleavage, fracture, hardness, Specific Gravity, streak colour and notable origin are among the physical properties of mineral. Certain mineral displays a special characteristic or properties as an identification tool.