What is a Mineral?
A mineral, by definition, is . . .
- Inorganic, which means that it is not made by a living organism.
- A solid. There is one unusual exception. Native mercury is a mineral and is the only metal that is a liquid at normal temperatures.
- Has a regular crystal structure. The crystal structures are described as crystal systems.
- Made by nature which means minerals are not made, directly or indirectly, from human activity.
- Has a predictable chemical formula.
Fun activity for kids
See if you can find out which of the following are minerals?
- Cubic Zirconia
- Diamond Fluorite
- Ice Cubes
- Pyrite (“Fool’s Gold”)
For each of these, make a checklist of the 5 points of a mineral’s definition. If it meets all 5 points, it is a mineral by definition!