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Geosciences LibreTexts

3.S: Summary

  • Page ID
    8850
  • Minerals are the building blocks of rocks and essential to understanding geology. Mineral properties are determined by their atomic bonds. Most minerals begin in a fluid, and either crystallize out of cooling magma or precipitate as ions and molecules out of a saturated solution. The silicates are largest group of minerals on Earth, by number of varieties and relative quantity, making up a large portion of the crust and mantle. Based on the silicon-oxygen tetrahedra, the crystal structure of silicates reflects the fact that silicon and oxygen are the top two of Earth’s most abundant elements. Non-silicate minerals are also economically important, and providing many types of construction and manufacturing materials. Minerals are identified by their unique physical properties, including luster, color, streak, hardness, crystal habit, fracture, cleavage, and special properties.