Mineral Information

From Mindat.org Manual
Jump to: navigation, search

Entry Type

There are a number of different classifications for mineral names in the mindat.org mineral database. In the late 1950's the International Mineralogical Association formed a committee to determine if a description of a mineral was sufficient to declare it a new species - Committee on New Minerals and New Mineral Names (CNMMN). Since that time they have made the determination on new species and the discreditation of older mineral names. They did not make any determinations on the validity of mineral species then existing, so there can be some controversies about which minerals should be "grandfathered". There are minerals such as quartz, whose existence is universally considered valid, but there are species which were poorly described or the original study material has subsequently become lost.

  1. Approved Minerals - Valid, recognized minerals. If the listing is not a valid mineral, one of the following classifications will be listed.
  2. Synonyms - these are mineral names in foreign languages, minerals which have had several names over their lifetimes and the synonym is now an obsolete name for the mineral - ie. <min>sphene</min> & <min>titanite</min>, and miner's terms for ore minerals - ie. <min>fluorspar</min> & <min>fluorite</min>.
  3. Varieties - Varieties are names given to a mineral species that have a specific characteristic that distinguishes it from other examples of the mineral species. These have usually been older names that were originally described as different minerals (ie. <min>amethyst</min> and <min>quartz</min>), but subsequent study has shown that they are the same mineral species. The varieties have the same chemical composition and crystallography that define it as a mineral species, but there have been slight differences noted in the following properties.
    • Various chemical variations in a mineral: <min>manganocalcite</min> - <min>calcite</min>
    • Colour varieties: <min>amethyst</min> - <min>quartz</min>
    • Variations in habit: <min>specularite</min> - <min>hematite</min>
    • Found in a particular locality: Herkimer diamond - quartz
  4. Series - This is the name for a number of related minerals that vary by chemistry. <min>Forsterite</min> and <min>fayalite</min> are the magnesium and iron rich mineral species in the <min>olivine</min> series.
  5. Mixture - A number of minerals that occur together. The name could refer to a name that was originally described as a mineral, but was later shown to be a mixture of two or more minerals.
  6. Group - Is a name for a number of related minerals. For example <min>pyrope</min>, <min>almandine</min>, <min>spessartine</min> are all members of the <min>garnet group</min>. This name can be used when there has not been a specific analysis to determine which member of the group actually occurs at a locality.

Hide/Show Localities

If there are more than 100 localities for a particular mineral, you must click on the box "Display Localities" to generate the list of localities for that particular mineral. This list of localities will not include specific varieties of the mineral (they will need to be displayed separately - but there are links to the varietal names). If you are only interested in a mineral from a specific state or country (and there are 1000's+ localities listed), the use of a Mineral occurrences in a region search will be quicker and more efficient (this search will also list locations for varietal names of a mineral species).

Mineral Gallery

If you click on this button, it will display all the mineral photos in the database. If there is no mineral photograph shown at the left side of the page, then there are no photographs of this mineral in the database.

General Information

Some of the more common information about a mineral is included here such as hardness, colour, origin of the name.

Classification of Mineral

This lists the validity of the mineral and how various authors have classified the mineral.

Type Occurrence

This lists the locality from which a specimen of the mineral was first described. Minerals have often been first found elsewhere, but they either were not identified, consisted of too small amounts of material for analysis, or the samples were not suitable for analysis (crystals could be twinned so that X-ray analysis could not be done or the size of the crystals was too small).

Physical Properties

This would include properties such as luster, colour, streak, hardness, density, cleavage and fracture.


This includes the system that the mineral crystallizes in as well as it's space group, class, cell parameters, morphology, and twinning. The display also contain alternate settings of the crystal class and space group. In the monoclinic minerals, the order of the space groups are first setting: c=2 and/or 2 bar. The next two alternate space groups are for the second setting: b=2 and/or 2 bar.

X-Ray Powder Diffraction data

Lists of the d-cell spacing and intensities for X-ray powder diffraction.

Optical Data

This lists whether the mineral is isotropic, uniaxial or biaxial. It also includes the refractive indexes and 2V angles, etc.

Relationship to Other Minerals

This includes any commonly associated minerals, the other minerals in it's Strunz group.

Chemical Properties

This lists the formula for the mineral and any other elements that are commonly found in this mineral.

Other Names

These lists include various synonyms for this mineral as well as names for the various varieties that have been described.

Other Information

This lists any other miscellaneous facts about the mineral.


This lists the major references for the mineral (including the type description of the mineral).

Internet Links

Here are links to search engines, other web databases, mineral dealers, and miscellaneous links.


The listing of the localities is given in the standard hierarchical order and references for the mineral at this locality are also listed. The localities for the varietal variations of the mineral are not given on this page, but you must go to the Mineral Information page for the various varieties. If you do not see a listing of localities, you probably will need to click on the "Display localities" button at the top of the page.

Ownership of Data Strunz Groupings