Rocks and Minerals

Properties of Minerals

by Anne E. Egger, Ph.D.

  • Terms you should know
    • luster : the way an object reflects light; sheen, gloss
    • ore : rock from which a valuable product such as a metal can be extracted
    • quartz : a common mineral made of silicon and oxygen
    • rover : a vehicle used for exploring remote regions
  • Summary

    Minerals are classified on the basis of their chemical composition, which is expressed in their physical properties. This module, the second in a series on minerals, describes the physical properties that are commonly used to identify minerals. These include color, crystal form, hardness, density, luster, and cleavage.

    Key Concepts

    • Properties that help geologists identify a mineral in a rock are: color, hardness, luster, crystal forms, density, and cleavage.

    • Crystal form, cleavage, and hardness are determined primarily by the crystal structure at the atomic level.

    • Color and density are determined primarily by the chemical composition.

    • Minerals are classified on the basis of their chemical composition.

    • NGSS
    • HS-C6.2, HS-PS1.A3

    Anne E. Egger, Ph.D. “Properties of Minerals” Visionlearning Vol. EAS-2 (8), 2005.