A mineral is a naturally occurring substance that is solid and stable at room temperature, representable by a chemical formula, usually abiogenic, and has an ordered atomic structure. It is different from a rock, which can be an aggregate of minerals or non-minerals, and does not have a specific chemical composition. The exact definition of a mineral is under debate, especially with respect to the requirement a valid species be abiogenic, and to a lesser extent with regards to it having an ordered atomic structure. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.

There are over 4,900 known mineral species; over 4,660 of these have been approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). The silicate minerals compose over 90% of the Earth's crust. The diversity and abundance of mineral species is controlled by the Earth's chemistry. Silicon and oxygen constitute approximately 75% of the Earth's crust, which translates directly into the predominance of silicate minerals. Minerals are distinguished by various chemical and physical properties. Differences in chemical composition and crystal structure distinguish various species, and these properties in turn are influenced by the mineral's geological environment of formation. Changes in the temperature, pressure, and bulk composition of a rock mass cause changes in its mineralogy; however, a rock can maintain its bulk composition, but as long as temperature and pressure change, its mineralogy can change as well.

Minerals can be described by a variable physical properties, which relate to its chemical structure and composition. Common distinguishing characteristics include crystal structure and habit, hardness, lustre, diaphaneity, colour, streak, tenacity, cleavage, fracture, parting, and specific gravity. More specific tests for minerals include reaction to acid, magnetism, taste or smell, and radioactivity.

Minerals are classified by key chemical constituents; the two dominant systems are the Dana classification and the Strunz classification. The silicate class of minerals is subdivided into six subclasses by the degree of polymerization in the chemical structure. All silicate minerals have a base unit of a 4- silica tetrahedra—that is, a silicon cation coordinated by four oxygen anions, which gives the shape of a tetrahedron. These tetrahedra can be polymerized to give the subclasses: orthosilicates (no polymerization, thus single tetrahedra), disilicates (two tetrahedra bonded together), cyclosilicates (rings of tetrahedra), inosilicates (chains of tetrahedra), phyllosilicates (sheets of tetrahedra), and tectosilicates (three-dimensional network of tetrahedra). Other important mineral groups include the native elements, sulfides, oxides, halides, carbonates, sulfates, and phosphates.

Read more about MineralMineral Chemistry, Physical Properties of Minerals, Mineral Classes

Other articles related to "mineral, minerals":

Joqqā - Culture and Sights - Mineral Water
... The Gulustan mineral water is in the bed of the Alinjachay (Alinja River), at 2.5 km distance from the village of Gulustan, in the territory of Julfa region ... The mineral water is extracted from the well of 135 m in depth which was drilled in 1962 ...
Mineral, Virginia - 2011 Earthquake
5 miles (8 kilometers) south-southwest of Mineral, at a depth of 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) ... The roof of Mineral's town hall collapsed, and three of the six schools in the county's school system suffered heavy damage ...
Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Mineral Show
... The Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Mineral Show, also known as Mineral Gem in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, is an international fair on nature-related arts and mining products that takes place in this Alsatian village ... The Mineral Show dates back, like the Mineralientage (Munich, Germany), in the early 1960, when Francois Lehmann organized a small mineral exhibition ... The actual appearance of the Mineral Show started in 1966 when it consolidated the first weekend of July as a fair dates ...
... Augen (from German "eyes") are large, lenticular eye-shaped mineral grains or mineral aggregates visible in some foliated metamorphic rocks ... Feldspar, quartz, and garnet are common minerals which form augen ... The core of the augen is a porphyroblast or porphyroclast of a hard, resilient mineral such as garnet ...
Mineral Rights - Major Elements
... The five elements of a mineral right are the right to use as much of the surface as is reasonably necessary to access the minerals, the right to further convey ... The owner of a mineral interest may separately convey any or all of the above-listed interests ... Minerals may be possessed as a life estate, which does not permit a person to sell them, but merely that they own the minerals so long as they live ...