Mineral Identification Lab
Introduction: In this lab activity you will become familiar with minerals and identifying their different properties. This lab will also introduce you to the deductive process where you will utilize the results of each property test to identify the name of the mineral from an established key.
· 15 unidentified Minerals
· Streak plate
1. Place your name, date, and class period top of this sheet.
2. Read through the Pre-lab worksheet and answer the questions (page 2 & 3).
3. Self-check your answers at one of the stations set up around the room.
4. Get a mineral kit. Go through and test each mineral for:
5. Be sure to record all information in the data table
YOU WILL NOT KNOW THE MINERAL NAME TILL THE END OF THE LAB.
6. As you’re testing your minerals, be sure to record your findings on your record sheet
7. After you have tested all 15 minerals for all 6 properties, compare your test results for each mineral to the established mineral chart in the back. Use this chart to identify the mineral name.
What did you learn after completing this activity? Write a conclusion paragraph below: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Mineral identification Lab: Pre-lab worksheet
Property Descriptions and Testing Procedures:
Color: This is probably the most easily observed property of minerals. However, color often varies widely and is the least reliable property for identification.
Streak: The color of the mineral when powdered. To test for streak, draw the mineral against an unglazed porcelain tile (streak plate). Streak is more useful for identification than color is.
Hardness: A mineral’s hardness is it’s resistance to scratching. Mohs Scale of Hardness, this scale uses common everyday objects to test hardness of each mineral sample. Below is the resulting table.
Moh’s scale of Hardness
Object used to test Hardness
Cleavage or fracture: These two properties refer to the way in which a mineral breaks. Cleavage is an orderly breakage in well-defined planes, meaning the mineral has flat sides. Fracture is a random breakage. If a mineral breaks with rough, random surfaces, it is said to have fracture.
Heft: Compare the relative “heft” of a mineral by holding it in your hand and comparing it to other minerals of about the same size. In general, metallic minerals are heavier than non-metallic minerals. For ease, minerals are classified as 1.) light, 2.) heavy, 3.) very heavy.