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AIMS Science
Feldspar, is the most common
mineral in the earth’s crust. You
can find feldspar almost anywhere
in the world. You can find pieces
of it in the sand at the beach. It
is found in all kinds of rocks.
Some igneous rocks are made
almost entirely of feldspar.
Moonstones are beautiful and rare
gems made from white feldspar.
It can also be pink, green, or red.
Feldspar can be ground into clay
to make potter and dishes.
It is also a mineral found in
Kaopectate which is a medicine.
Luster – dull
Hardness – hard 6.0
Streak – white
Light – opaque
Quartz, can be one of the prettiest
and most colorful of all minerals.
Some types of quartz are made up
of tiny crystals. It can be clear,
purple, brown, or yellow. It is
always six-sided or hexagonal.
Quartz is valued for its beauty. It
can be used for jewelry. The
crystals can often be found in
Quartz crystals are used today in
watches, clocks, radios,
computers, microwave ovens, and
even VCR’s.
Luster – glassy and shiny
Hardness – hard 7.0
Streak – white
Light – transparent
to translucent
Galena, is shiny and very soft. It
can be scratched with your
fingernail or melted into shapes. If
it breaks, it separates into small
Galena contains lead, which is a
common metal. Hundreds of
years ago people believed it could
keep away evil spirits. We use it
today to keep out harmful
It is used in batteries and was
once added to gasoline and paint.
Since it is poisonous and harmful
it is not used in house paints or
gasoline anymore.
Luster – metallic to dull
Hardness – soft 2.5
Streak – lead gray
Light – opaque
Calcite, is one of the most
important minerals found in rocks
formed under water. It can also be
found in clam shells. Inside caves
stalactites and stalagmites contain
a lot of calcite.
One kind of calcite is call Iceland
spar. It is used in some kinds of
prisms and microscopes because it
can create a double image.
It is usually white, but sometimes
it is so clear you can see through it.
Luster – glassy
Hardness – medium 3.0
Streak – white or gray
Light – transparent
to translucent
Graphite, is the lead in your
pencil. People began writing with
sticks of graphite about 400 years
ago, but wooden pencils were not
invented until 1700 in France. It is
better than ink because it is so soft
erasing it is easy.
Graphite can withstand high
temperatures so it is very useful for
conducting electricity. For these
reasons, it used to make electrodes
that carry electricity from one place
to another.
Luster – metallic to dull
Hardness – soft 1.0 – 2.0
Streak – black gray to
brownish gray
Light - opaque
Hematite, is found all over the
world. Some forms of hematite
look like a black, bumpy rock.
Anther kind is red-brown and was
used to make dark-red paint by
Native Americans. They covered
the walls of caves with paintings
of horses, buffaloes, and other
It is one of the minerals from
which we get iron. Iron is one of
the strongest material in the
world and is the main ingredient
of steel.
Luster – dull
Hardness – hard 5.0 -6.0
Streak – brown to gray
Light – opaque
Gypsum, looks dull and earthy. It
is usually found in small pieces.
These pieces are ground up to
make plaster of Paris. Plaster of
Paris is used to make casts for
broken bones. It can also be used
to make statues. This special kind
of gypsum is called alabaster and is
pink or white.
Today gypsum is used to construct
wall in homes and buildings. The
material known as ‘drywall’ is really
‘gypsum board.’
Luster – pearly
Hardness – soft 2.0
Streak – white
Light - translucent
Magnetite, as its name suggests,
is magnetic which is why this
mineral can attract metal.
Lodestone is the highly
magnetized form of magnetite that
makes a compass work.
No one knows who discovered it
but, some believe it was some
Shepard in Asia who noticed that
the iron nails in their sandals
sometimes clung to the ground as
they walked across a field with
rocks that contained magnetite.
For centuries people believed that
the mineral had secret powers.
They even thought it could cure
Luster – metallic to dull
Hardness – hard 5.5 – 6.5
Streak – black or gray
Light – opaque
Muscovite, is a shiny, silverywhite mineral that has many thin
sheets, like pages in a book.
Before glass was easily available,
many people in Russia used
pieces of muscovite to make
windows. The name “Moscow,”
the capital of Russia, comes from
the Russian word for “glass.” Did
you know that people from
Moscow are called “Muscovites”?
Luster – glassy and shiny
Hardness – soft 2.0 – 2.25
Streak – white
Light – transparent
to translucent
Important Minerals