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Geosciences LibreTexts

2.2: Activity 2 - Minerals

  • Page ID
    14436
  • You will need to study the mineral specimens provided to fill in the blanks in the table below. Use the following guidelines for completing the table:

    • Color: Describe what you see. Munsell color designations are not necessary.
    • Luster: Write in either “M” for metallic or “N” for nonmetallic.
    • Hardness: Soft (S) minerals can be scratched by a fingernail. Medium (M) minerals can be scratched by a penny. Hard (H) minerals cannot be scratched by a penny and can scratch glass.
    • Cleavage: Note whether present (1, 2, or 3 directions) or absent (0 directions).
    • Plant-available nutrients: Refer to the list of essential elements and to Tables 3 and 4. Write in the chemical symbol of nutrients that are released and used by plants by weathering of minerals.
    Table 3
    Mineral Color Luster (M or N) Hardness (S, M, or H) Cleavage (yes/no) Plant-available nutrients from Minerals (Table 4) (atomic symbol & charge)
    pyrite
    calcite
    gypsum
    hornblende
    muscovite
    plagioclase
    orthoclase
    quartz

    1) Which of the minerals in Table 3 is most resistant to weathering?

    2) Of the eight most common elements in the earth’s crust, which ones are essential elements that are released to plants by the weathering of minerals?

    ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

    3) Name the source of each of the following plant-essential elements:

    C ______________

    H ______________

    O ______________

    N ______________

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