Questions tagged [mineralogy]

questions relating to the scientific study and identification of minerals.

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The different types of plagioclase

The fractions of albite $\ce{NaAlSi_3O_8}$ and anorthite $\ce{CaAl_2Si_2O_8}$, which I call $\ce{Ab}$ and $\ce{An}$ in the following list, present in a plagioclase are often used to define it in the ...
7
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2answers
320 views

Acidity of rock

I read that the acidic character, or, better, persilicic character of a rock is determined by a content of more than $65\%\ \ce{SiO_2}$. A rock is defined, by the texts available to me, as ...
13
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1answer
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What are the high field strength and large ion lithophile (HFS or HFSE & LIL or LILE) elements?

There are two groups of elements that are frequently mentioned when discussing incompatible trace elements. They are the high field strength elements (HFS or HFSE) and the large ion lithophile ...
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2answers
593 views

Why are minerals found in “large” quantities and not scattered throughout the earth as individual atoms?

Heavier elements are created in stars. After stars die they scatter these heavier elements throughout the universe. These elements eventually gather to form planets. But why do we find "chunks" of ...
10
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1answer
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How do you use the streckeisen (QAPF) classification ternary diagram to identify igneous rocks based on chemical rock composition?

I have been given the following diagrams: and and a database that is structured like this: ...
8
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1answer
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How are spherulitic structures formed in basalt rock?

After having studied the thin sections of basalt under the microscope, I have come across many spherulitic structures occurring in clusters. How can this happen? Is it due to devitrification or is ...
8
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1answer
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Is it theoretically possible to artificially create amber?

It is said of amber that it requires thousands of years of time and much pressure to produce amber from tree resin. This was also said of diamond as well, but we now produce artificial diamonds by ...
9
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1answer
140 views

What makes the conditions at the core/mantle boundary ideal for aluminum to combine with other elements besides oxygen?

Recently, steinhardite was accepted as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association. It's quite an interesting story in its own right. There's an interesting article in New Scientist ...
9
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1answer
334 views

How does the composition of volcanic rock change as it makes its ascent towards the surface?

A schematic for the fluid mechanics of a volcano is represented below. Graciously borrowed from Figure 1 of the reference cited below From the caption of that figure: During explosive eruptions, ...
12
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1answer
70 views

Why are titanium oxides lumped in with magnetite for the purposes of analyzing water bubble nucleation?

I was reading a bit about the fluid mechanics of volcanoes to further understand some of the dynamics of "magma wagging" from my earlier question. From [2]: Heterogeneous nucleation, in which the ...
13
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5answers
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Why do gold deposits form only in certain areas of the earth?

In the map above you can find that most elements are spread evenly throughout Earth's crust and that they are available all around the Earth. However, gold can only be found in certain areas of the ...
3
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1answer
781 views

What are the implications of the recent discovery that huge oceans exist close to the mantle of the Earth? [duplicate]

I was of the notion that as we get deeper into the Earth, it gets hotter and hotter. If so, how can there be huge oceans (they seem bigger than our Pacific) exist at such a place? If so, what are the ...
12
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1answer
587 views

Why does halite have perfect cleavage at the (110) plane?

Why doesn't it cleave nicely along the (100) or (010) or any other planes? What determines its cleavage plane? I know it has something to do with the fact that it crystallizes in face centered cubic ...
10
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1answer
3k views

What kind of minerals have no cleavage plane?

Why does quartz have no cleavage plane and halite does? What do I need to know about the specific mineral so that I can decide whether it has cleavage or not? I need some kind of rule.
14
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1answer
117 views

In what sense did the Oklo reactor “trap” its own nuclear waste?

A number of popular writings on the natural fission reactor at Oklo, Gabon (e.g. here) state that some of the energetic byproducts (krypton and xenon, presumably 85Kr and 133Xe) of the reactor were "...
17
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2answers
12k views

What determines a mineral's hardness?

Mohs Hardness Scale is basically a measurement of the hardness of a material, or more specific, a rock or mineral. But I have never been able to figure out why some minerals are harder than others.
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2answers
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Peak phosphorus - what are the sinks?

The minable phosphorus reserves are limited. Where is the mined phosphoprus landing, what are the global phosphorus sinks? I would assume that most phosphorus is used for fertilizer and ultimately ...
20
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2answers
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In what geological situations can I find gold?

I've heard that gold ore is often associated with quartz veins. What geological processes enable gold particles to naturally cluster together like this? What characteristics/properties should I look ...
15
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2answers
14k views

Why does the colour of amethyst fade if exposed to too much light?

It is well known that the purple hue that is characteristic of the amethyst quartz ($\ce{SiO2}$) will fade if the crystal is exposed to light for a prolonged period of time. What is the underlying ...
13
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3answers
4k views

How and where do double-terminated crystals form?

How and where do double-terminated crystals form? Most terminated crystals form by 'growing' out of a rock. Which causes one side to be flat,(or whatever the shape of the rock it 'grew' out of was ...
5
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1answer
317 views

Why is my ♦ hammer (i.e. diamond) so durable, but it can burn? [closed]

For those confused about the title, there's a joke that every moderator has a "diamond hammer" (diamond from the little by the username). In a chat discussion, it ...
9
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2answers
308 views

How are paleomagnetic polarities determined?

In magnetostratigraphic logs various chrons are distinguished with either normal or reversed polarity, with the magnetic north pole at the geographic north and south pole, respectively. How and why ...
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3answers
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Why do felsic materials have lower melting points than mafic?

It is clear from Bowen's reaction series that more felsic minerals have lower melting points than mafic minerals. As far as I know, the same is true of quenched glasses. Felsics have a higher degree ...