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The Acid Test for Carbonate Minerals and Carbonate Rocks

The Acid Test for Carbonate Minerals and Carbonate Rocks
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-04-06


What is the Acid Test?

To most geologists, the term "acid test" means placing a drop of dilute (5% to 10%) hydrochloric acid on a rock or mineral and watching for bubbles of carbon dioxide gas to be released. The bubbles signal the presence of carbonate minerals such as calcite, dolomite or one of the minerals listed in Table 1.

The bubbling release of carbon dioxide gas can be so weak that...(Read More)

Are Water and Ice Minerals?

Are Water and Ice Minerals?
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-03-15


What is a Mineral?

The word "mineral" is used by geologists for a group of naturally occurring crystalline substances. Gold, pyrite, quartz, calcite and fluorite are all examples of "minerals".

To be a mineral a substance must meet five requirements:
naturally occurring (not made by humans)
inorganic (not produced by an organism)
solid
a limited range of chemical compositions
ordered...(Read More)

Rhodochrosite

Rhodochrosite
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-03-15


What is Rhodochrosite?

Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral that ranges in color from light pink to bright red. It is found in a small number of locations worldwide where other manganese minerals are usually present. Rhodochrosite is sometimes used as an ore of manganese but is rarely found in economic quantities. Specimens with a wonderful pink color are used to produce highly desirable...(Read More)

The Many Uses of Gold

The Many Uses of Gold
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-03-07


The Most Useful Metal

Of all the minerals mined from the Earth, none is more useful than gold. Its usefulness is derived from a diversity of special properties. Gold conducts electricity, does not tarnish, is very easy to work, can be drawn into wire, can be hammered into thin sheets, alloys with many other metals, can be melted and cast into highly detailed shapes, has a wonderful color and a...(Read More)

Corundum

Corundum
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-03-07


Corundum has historically been used as an abrasive, but it is most famous as the mineral of ruby and sapphire.

What is Corundum?

Corundum is a rock-forming mineral that is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. It is an aluminum oxide with a chemical composition of Al2O3 and a hexagonal crystal structure.

The mineral is widely known for its extreme hardness and for the fact...(Read More)

Top States For Gemstones in the United States

Top States For Gemstones in the United States
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-02-26


#1 ARIZONA

In 2011, the state of Arizona led the United States in the production of gemstones. Arizona has long been famous as a producer of turquoise, peridot and petrified wood. Gemstones such as azurite, chrysocolla and malachite are associated with Arizona's many copper deposits and have a long history of being produced there. Agate, amethyst, garnet, jade, jasper, obsidian, onyx, and opal...(Read More)

Gemstone Mining in the United States

Gemstone Mining in the United States
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-02-26


A Diversity of U.S. Gemstones

A surprising diversity of gemstones are produced within the United States. Did you know that Montana is the home of world-famous sapphire localities, and that emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are found in North Carolina? Have you ever seen an "Oregon sunstone" that flashes with a copper aventurescence or a cultured freshwater pearl with a golden luster produced in...(Read More)

Mohs Hardness Scale

Mohs Hardness Scale
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-02-08


What is Mohs Hardness Scale?

Table 1
Mohs Hardness Scale
Mineral: Hardness
Talc: 1
Gypsum: 2
Calcite: 3
Fluorite: 4
Apatite: 5
Orthoclase: 6
Quartz: 7
Topaz: 8
Corundum: 9
Diamond: 10

One of the most important tests for identifying mineral specimens is the Mohs Hardness Test. This test compares the resistance of a mineral to being scratched by ten reference minerals known as...(Read More)

Topaz - A very popular gemstone

Topaz - A very popular gemstone
Written by Ashley Zelenka on 2015-02-08


What is Topaz?

Topaz is a silicate mineral most often found in igneous rocks of felsic composition. It is also found in some hydrothermal veins and the hydrothermally altered rocks that surround them. It is a common mineral of pegmatites and also found in the cavities of rhyolite and granite. Rarely, topaz is found in metamorphic rocks such as schist or quartzite. Topaz is not an abundant mineral...(Read More)





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