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Geosciences LibreTexts

1.7: Activity 1F - Taking Measurements

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  • Qualitative Measurements

    Sometimes in science, our measurements are qualitative rather than quantitative, yet are still extremely useful. For example, to identify minerals in the field, we can assess the mineral’s hardness relative to common objects.

    Test the hardness of the three mineral samples available by doing the following:

    • try to scratch it with your fingernail.

    • try to scratch glass with the mineral.

    These two tests are listed in order of increasing hardness. For example, if you can scratch the mineral with your fingernail, it is very soft. If you can scratch the glass with the mineral, it is very hard. If your fingernail cannot scratch the mineral, and the glass cannot be scratched, the mineral has moderate hardness.

    Your instructor will provide you with 3 minerals. Label the minerals in order of increasing hardness (soft, moderate, hard):

    • Mineral A:

    • Mineral B:

    • Mineral C:

    Quantitative Measurements

    Using a ruler, measure the length of the line below in both centimeters and inches.

    1. in centimeters:

    Screen Shot 2021-06-22 at 08.51.15.png

    1. in inches:

    Locate a book, textbook, tissue box, or other similar-sized rectangular or square shaped object. Measure its length, width, and thickness (height) in both centimeters and inches.

    Object selected
    Measurement in centimeters in inches
    Thickness (height):

    To calculate volume, you must multiply the length by width by height. The proper units of volume are always measured in cubic units. The formula for volume is

    Volume = Length * Width * Height

    Calculate the volume of your selected object from above.

    Length Width Height Volume
    * * = (in cm3)
    * * = (in in3)
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