Atlantic Cape Community College Earth Science- ESCI100 Minerals Background: Mineral – a naturally occurring, inorganic solid that has unique chemical and physical properties. Minerals are the backbone of rocks. Rocks comprise the very solid Earth we stand on. Minerals are also obtained for use in many commercial, industrial, and medical products that we use. Much of this was discussed in the Matter and Minerals chapter of the textbook. Materials: Online students will have three unknown mineral samples labeled M#. The three unknown samples are representative of a metallic mineral, a dark non-metallic mineral, and a light non-metallic mineral. In addition, the kit should also include black and white porcelain streak plates, a small magnet, a glass plate, a goniometer, and a magnifying glass. If the magnifying glass is not in the kit, you can use the stereoscope. Students should have access to some white vinegar (to substitute for hydrochloric acid), a penny (copper strip) and a paper clip. All lab kit materials should be kept away from children. Suggestions: Students will perform diagnostic tests on mineral samples, compare your results to known properties listed on the Mineral ID Key and then make an educated guess as to the name of your mineral specimens. There will be different minerals assigned. Part of your grade is based on the correct identification of unknowns. You must post your findings (EX: M99 = gold) in the Minerals lab discussion board. 1 Mineral lab precautions: HANDLING: If you have a possible allergic reaction to materials such as talc or sulfur, it is best to wear gloves when handling samples. ACID TEST PRECAUTIONS: Use caution when handling the vinegar (acetic acid). Use only a few drops. Goggles and gloves are worn when using acetic acid (vinegar). Perform the acid test in a well-ventilated area. If you have mineral sample M16, perform the acid test on it. All others will be considered acid negative will be considered acid negative (-) and are not carbonates. HARDNESS TEST PRECAUTIONS: Use caution when handling glass plates. Do not try and rub a mineral sample with the glass plate in your hand. Place the glass plate on a flat surface and then apply the sample. TASTE TEST PRECAUTIONS: The students will NOT perform the taste test on any samples. Sample M19 has a salty taste. CLEAVAGE TEST PRECAUTIONS: Students will NOT be required to hammer or chisel any specimens at home. Observe the samples for evidence of cleavage. FEEL/TEXTURE TEST PRECAUTIONS: If you have a possible allergic reaction to materials such as talc or sulfur, it is best to wear gloves when handling samples. SMELL TEST PRECAUTIONS: Do NOT place you face directly into specimen bags. Gently open the bag and using your hand, make a wafting motion to bring the air/odor towards you. GENERAL PRECAUTIONS: Wash your hands after handling mineral samples. Some samples contain talc and sulfur. 2 MINERAL PROPERTIES: When identifying a mineral, one must conduct tests on a sample. These tests are based on the both the chemical and physical properties minerals have. Both the type and number of atoms present in the material determine such properties. Color- the color of the mineral may give an indication of the types of atoms (chemical composition) that make up the mineral. This happens to be the least reliable test due to contamination! Terms that are commonly used to describe color: white, red, yellow, brown, black, purple, green, blue, grey, or colorless. Transmission of Light describes how a mineral sample reacts to light rays. A mineral can basically be opaque (no light goes through it), translucent (light rays go through the sample, but no distinct image is formed) or transparent (light goes through the sample and an image is observed). Terms used: • translucent (special property) • transparent (special property) • opaque (if not listed the sample is understood to be opaque) The mineral calcite exhibits double refraction. Texture/feel- most minerals will feel rough however certain minerals have smooth or greasy textures. Terms used: greasy (special property), soapy (special property), powdery (special property), slimy (special property), smooth and rough Taste- can identify such minerals like halite, which has a salty taste. Taste is a special property and should only be used as a last resort. DO NOT PERFORM! If you were wet your pinky, apply, or place it on the surface of a clean sampl

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