Lab 3: Silicate Minerals

Lab Structure

Recommended additional work Yes – review concepts from Labs 1, 2 and 3 in preparation for Test 1
Required materials Mineral ID kit, Mineral Kits 1 and 2, pencil

Learning Objectives

After carefully reading this section, completing the exercises within it, and answering the questions at the end, you should be able to:

  • Describe a silica tetrahedron and the ways in which tetrahedra combine to make silicate minerals.
  • Differentiate between ferromagnesian and other silicate minerals.
  • Identify and describe the physical properties of a range of silicate minerals in hand sample, and how these properties are used to identify minerals.
Key Terms
  • Isolated silicate
  • Single chain silicate
  • Double chain silicate
  • Phyllosilicate (sheet silicate)
  • Framework silicate
  • Colour
  • Streak
  • Lustre
  • Hardness
  • Crystal habit
  • Cleavage
  • Fracture
  • Conchoidal fracture
  • Specific gravity


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A Practical Guide to Introductory Geology Copyright © 2020 by Siobhan McGoldrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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