Mineral Identification by physical properties

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You can search for minerals by the various physical properties that they have. The better the input data, the better the search results will be. To get to this search, you should click on the "Search Pages" button on the navigation header. Then select the "Search for Minerals by Physical Properties" link.

Mineral Search

  • Optical properties
    • Colour - This is the colour of the mineral specimen (ie. red, green, red-brown).
    • Streak - This is the colour of the mineral powder. It is normally created by rubbing the mineral across a plate of unglazed porcelain.
    • Lustre - This is related to the refractive index of the mineral.
      1. Metallic
      2. Sub-Metallic
      3. Adamantine
      4. Sub-Adamantine
      5. Resinous
      6. Vitreous
      7. Sub-Vitreous
      8. Waxy
      9. Greasy
      10. Silky
      11. Pearly
      12. Earthy
      13. Dull
    • Diaphany - This is the amount of transparency for a specimen.
      1. Transparent - You can see clearly through the crystal.
      2. Translucent - Some light goes through the crystal, but you cannot make out objects on the other side of the crystal.
      3. Translucent on thin edges
      4. Opaque - No light gets through the object.
  • Mohs hardness - This is the scale that relates whether a mineral can scratch another mineral or is scratched by it.
  • Fracture
    • Tenacity - This is the tendency for a mineral to break.
      1. brittle
      2. very brittle
      3. sectile
      4. elastic
      5. malleable
    • Cleavage - This is the ease with which fracture planes can be generated (they have a specific crystallographic direction)
      1. None Observed
      2. Poor/Indistinct
      3. Imperfect/Fair
      4. Distinct/Good
      5. Very Good
      6. Perfect
    • Fracture - This is the manner in which a mineral crystal will break (not along any particular crystallographic direction).
      1. None observed
      2. Irregular/Uneven
      3. Splintery
      4. Hackly
      5. Conchoidal
      6. Sub-Conchoidal
      7. Fibrous
      8. Micaeous
      9. Step-Like
  • Density - This is the weight per volume for a mineral (in gm/cc). The mineral is weighed in water and that is compared to it's weight in air, or liquids of a specific density can be used to determine if the mineral powder will float or sink in the fluid.
  • Crystallography - This can be determined by the symmetry exhibited by the mineral.
    1. Isometric
    2. Tetragonal
    3. Orthorhombic
    4. Hexagonal
    5. Trigonal
    6. Monoclinic
    7. Triclinic
    8. Amorphous
  • Matching Type
    1. Fuzzy/Normal - This will produce a list of possible matches starting with the one that most closely matches the input data. This is the preferable option to use.
    2. Exact - This requires an exact match of properties. This could be used if you wanted a list of all isometric minerals with a metallic lustre.
  • Chemistry - If you suspect or know that a mineral contains an element or if it is not in the specimen - from analyses like flame tests, borax bead tests, etc.
    1. Contains Elements
    2. Excludes Elements


Search by Chemistry of a mineral Locality Search