The topics covered in this chapter can be summarized as follows:

Section Summary
2.1 Bonding and Lattices The main types of bonding in minerals are ionic bonding (electrons transferred) and covalent bonding (electrons shared). Some minerals have metallic bonding or other forms of weak bonding. Minerals form in specific three-dimensional lattices, and the nature of the lattices and the type of bonding within them have important implications for mineral properties.
2.2 Mineral Groups Minerals are grouped according to the anion part of their formula, with some common types being oxides, sulphides, sulphates, halides, carbonates, phosphates, silicates, and native minerals.
2.3 Mineral Properties Some of the important properties for mineral identification include hardness, cleavage/fracture, density, lustre, colour, and streak colour.  It’s critical to be able to recognize these properties in order to be able to identify minerals.
2.4 Economic Minerals Geological resources are critical to our way of life and important to the Canadian economy. Gold, coal, iron, copper, nickel, and potash are Canada’s most valuable mined commodities. The concentrations of metals in mineral deposits are typically several thousand times higher than those in average rocks, and such concentrations only form through specific geological processes. Mining involves both surface and underground methods, but in either case, rock is brought to surface that can react with water and oxygen to produce acid rock drainage and metal contamination.
Lab 2 Exercises The best way to learn mineral identification is to practice by examining the mineral samples in your Mineral Kit 1 and 2. It is important to know all the properties of each mineral in your kits, but especially the diagnostic properties that are most helpful for identifying each mineral. Remember, different samples of the same mineral may not always look exactly the same, but their other physical properties (e.g., hardness, cleavage, lustre) will be consistent.


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A Practical Guide to Introductory Geology by Siobhan McGoldrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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