What are Minerals?

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What is Matter? 

MATTER IS ANYTHING WITH MASS AND VOLUME.  (in other words, everything is matter) 

  • MASS IS THE AMOUNT OF MATERIAL IN AN OBJECT
  • VOLUME IS THE AMOUNT OF SPACE AN OBJECT TAKES UP
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All matter is made from elements.  The smallest unit of an element is called an atom.  These atoms can combine through chemical processes to form larger types of matter. 

A molecule is a combination of at least two atoms.

 A compound is a substance made up from 2 or more elements. 

Minerals are a Special Type of Matter

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Minerals are all around us, but they have unique properties which make them useful to humans.  Their unique properties are what separate them from other types of matter.  To be considered a mineral a substance must meet 5 criteria:

    1.  Solid

    2.  Inorganic  (not living or from living things)

    3.  Naturally Occurring

    4.  Definite Chemical Composition

    5.  Orderly Arrangement of Atoms

Any substance that meets all 5 requirements is a mineral.

Any substance that fails to meet even one of the above requirements cannot be considered a mineral. 

 

 

Let's Practice:  Are the following common substances minerals?

Glass

 

 Glass is NOT a mineral b/c it is made by humans...NOT naturally occurring

 

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Water

 

 

Water is NOT a mineral b/c it is NOT a solid. 

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Coal

 

Coal is not a mineral b/c it is NOT inorganic Coal forms from the remains of plants and algae that died millions of years ago. 

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On the back cover of the ESRT you can find the list of important minerals that can be found in the state of New York.  These are the minerals that you will be asked questions about on the Regents, and these are the minerals we will learn to test and identify over the next week.

 

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