Questions tagged [mineralogy]

Questions relating to the scientific study and identification of minerals.

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2
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1answer
174 views

Ions & elements, which is the correct terminology to use when discussing chemical compounds in Earth Science?

Different textbooks use different terminologies when discussing the same chemical compounds, for example when discussing the minerals... Elements / Compounds Sulfide minerals consist of metallic ...
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1answer
50 views

Is there any covalent crystals that can be easily synthesized?

I am looking for a kind of crystal that can be artificially made at relatively low temperatures (below 1500 degree Celsius) and relatively quickly (not geological time). The product is ideally ...
2
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1answer
87 views

Voronoi-like pattern in metal samples

What is this pattern in the samples' surface called and how/why is it formed? I remember having seen a similar pattern in galvanized sheets. Photos of metal samples from Wikimedia Commons (here and ...
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1answer
249 views

Why do manganese nodules have different constitution than sea water?

Analysing the constituents of manganese nodules, we find that the relative proportion of minerals differs from that of the surrounding sea water. Can someone explain to me why the proportion of the ...
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1answer
735 views

What is the difference between mineral groups and series?

It seems to me when reading about minerals, groups and series are spoken about interchangably in similar types of contexts. Is there a difference? If so, what?
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1answer
109 views

Identifying trichroic crystal systems

An unknown mineral shows three distinct pleochroic colours. Explain what observations you need to make in order to decide which crystal system it belongs to. If it has three pleochroic colours this ...
4
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1answer
631 views

Is porphyritic texture always indicative of a 2 stage cooling process?

Is porphyritic texture always indicative of a 2 stage cooling process? Can't the phenocrysts and groundmass be formed at the same time depending upon the chemical constituents forming the rock? The ...
4
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2answers
498 views

Looking for a complete table of minerals for a database

I am building an open source spatial geochemical/geological observational database for mineral exploration. I need to fill the mineral lookup table. Where can I find a complete list of all minerals ...
5
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1answer
127 views

Strange coating in old lime mine shaft

Near Prague,Czech Republic is old lime mine. Most of it is closed but one short transport tunnel under one hill is publicly accessible. Tunnel has profile around 2,5x2,5m and it's slightly bended and ...
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87 views

Is it ok to use biology microscope for gemological purpose?

Is it ok to use biology microscope for gemological purpose? What's the difference?
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1answer
3k views

Can ultrasounds be used to map the density of large underground regions?

This question arose from a related one at Physics.SE, along with my own personal quest to better understand mineralogical prospecting. I want to know if some kind of ultrasound machine can determine ...
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3answers
679 views

What are the dominant elements that oxygen is bonded to on earth?

Elements are found in different minerals and chemical compounds on earth. Oxygen is dominantly found in silicate minerals which, aside from silica, contain other elements. One way of looking at the ...
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3answers
162 views

Connection between microbes and serpentinite?

Serpentinite belongs to the serpentine group. This group of minerals are metamorphic minerals caused a special process called serpentinization. Serpentinization created serpentinite on the Earth's ...
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1answer
71 views

What type of mineral is this? [closed]

My grandfather found this thing.
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1answer
96 views

How do cations control the crystal structure of silicate minerals?

Beyond the obvious fact that in many of the silicate subtypes they play an ionic 'glue' like role by bonding the tetrahedra units together; how do cations control the structure of a silicate and how ...
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Can humidity changes induce stacking-sequence changes?

My understanding is that some minerals with layered crystal structures will reversibly absorb water with changes in humidity. Are there any minerals where this reversible absorption leads to a ...
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1answer
254 views

Simplest formula of a calcium phosphate mineral?

I had a homework question: Given the formula: $$\ce{Ca}_x\ce{(PO4)}_y\ce{OH}$$ Find the lowest possible values of $x,y$ and state (look up) the mineral name. Based on the anion charges ...
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2answers
2k views

What is this blue rock? [closed]

I am trying to identify a rock my husband found.The rock was found in Columbus Ohio about 20 feet (6 m) down. It is about the size of a basketball and extremely heavy (90 lbs) and difficult to cut ...
3
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1answer
424 views

Significance of crystal classes in crystallography

I am studying crystals and I learned that there are 32 crystal classes with well-described data regarding symmetries. I have visited a few sites and am having difficulty determining the significance ...
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1answer
140 views

Online resources for geographical distribution of minerals

I'm trying to find the geographical distribution and availability of mineral Brannerite. Is there a resource online to know or query where a certain mineral is found? On the link page, they mention ...
4
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1answer
210 views

What type of gem is this? [closed]

I was wondering what type of stone this is. I tested it on Mohs hardness scale. It scratched quartz. I found it at Crystal Cave in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. They were selling bags of gems you could sift ...
4
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1answer
2k views

How can I normalize this chemical analysis to a mineral with 3 cations?

$\ce{FeO}$ = 70 wt% $\ce{TiO2}$ = 30 wt% The molecular weight given of $\ce{FeO}$ = 72, and the mw of $\ce{TiO2}$ = 80. The first step I did was divide each wt% by their molecular weights to get a ...
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1answer
464 views

Icelandic rock I am trying to identify [closed]

This is a rock that I picked up from underneath a melted segment of Glacier in east Iceland. It is not unusually heavy or light for it's size. I can scratch the surface away with a penny. The ...
13
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1answer
228 views

Why does aragonite form in one case and an acetate in another?

If I add acetic acid to limestone, I can get calcium acetate crystals to grow but if I add acetic acid to dolomite, supposedly I can grow aragonite which is a form of calcium carbonate. Why would I ...
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1answer
1k views

Why do most opal deposits occur in Australia?

According to the Wikipedia page about opals, this hydrated amorphous silica based gemstone is most commonly found in Australia, with according to the page, over 90% from Australia. Opal from Coober ...
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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 ...
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362 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
27k views

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
737 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 ...
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1answer
7k views

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: ...
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
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1answer
4k views

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 ...
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1answer
145 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 ...
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1answer
366 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, ...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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5answers
20k views

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 ...
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1answer
799 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
637 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 ...
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1answer
4k 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
123 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 "...
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2answers
13k 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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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 ...
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
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2answers
16k 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 ...
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3answers
5k 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 ...
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1answer
318 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 ...
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353 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 ...