and mineral collecting is a fascinating hobby which
can be shared by the entire family. Before you get
started with your new hobby it is important to understand
something about minerals. Rocks are made up of one
mineral, or a mixture of minerals. Minerals are made
up of elements, which are simple substances which
cannot be broken down into any other substance. Sometimes
minerals are made of only one element, but most minerals
are made up of two or more elements.
minerals are made up of a large number of elements.
Minerals are often found as shapeless lumps. These
pieces are called "massive". Some minerals can also
form special shapes, which can help you to identify
them. The mineral is said to "grow" when the elements
that the mineral is made of gets built up in layers
on the mineral's outside surface. Minerals grow into
all kinds of rough shapes in the spaces between other
minerals around them. If a mineral can grow freely,
such as on the sea bed, or in the hole of a rock,
it may form beautiful crystals. Minerals also form
other shapes which are not crystals. The mineral smithsonite
forms rounded crusts on rocks and minerals. Pyrite
may form smoothly rounded lumps called nodules. If
you find a mineral with perfectly flat surfaces, it
is likely a crystal. Some minerals break cleanly when
hit, leaving pieces with smooth surfaces that look
like crystals. These clean breaks are called "cleavages".
Each mineral tends to break or cleave more easily
in some directions than in others. The way it breaks
is called its cleavage pattern.Often
you can identify minerals by a combination of their
crystal shape and their cleavage pattern.
the author: Author and Internet Content Developer