• In particular, the field has made great advances in the understanding of the relationship between the atomic-scale structure of minerals and their function; in nature, prominent
    examples would be accurate measurement and prediction of the elastic properties of minerals, which has led to new insight into seismological behaviour of rocks and depth-related discontinuities in seismograms of the Earth’s mantle.

  • [24][25][26][27] In another use of big data sets, network theory was applied to a dataset of carbon minerals, revealing new patterns in their diversity and distribution.

  • This implies that, given the chemical composition of the planet, one could predict the more common minerals.

  • To this end, in their focus on the connection between atomic-scale phenomena and macroscopic properties, the mineral sciences (as they are now commonly known) display perhaps
    more of an overlap with materials science than any other discipline.

  • [16] It uses techniques from chemical mineralogy, especially isotopic studies, to determine such things as growth forms in living plants and animals[17][18] as well as things
    like the original mineral content of fossils.

  • The Moon, with only 63 minerals and 24 elements (based on a much smaller sample) has essentially the same relationship.

  • Many crystals are polymorphic, having more than one possible crystal structure depending on factors such as pressure and temperature.

  • One of these, atomic absorption spectroscopy, is similar to wet chemistry in that the sample must still be dissolved, but it is much faster and cheaper.

  • In a 2015 paper, Robert Hazen and others analyzed the number of minerals involving each element as a function of its abundance.

  • They found that Earth, with over 4800 known minerals and 72 elements, has a power law relationship.

  • Physical properties An initial step in identifying a mineral is to examine its physical properties, many of which can be measured on a hand sample.

  • [5]: 4  More recently, driven by advances in experimental technique (such as neutron diffraction) and available computational power, the latter of which has enabled extremely
    accurate atomic-scale simulations of the behaviour of crystals, the science has branched out to consider more general problems in the fields of inorganic chemistry and solid-state physics.

  • This information can be used to predict where to look for new deposits and even new mineral species.

  • By observing the presence or absence of such lines in liquids with different indices, the index of the crystal can be estimated, usually to within 0.003.

  • Some factors are deterministic, such as the chemical nature of a mineral and conditions for its stability; but mineralogy can also be affected by the processes that determine
    a planet’s composition.

  • [9]: 253–254  If the mineral is well crystallized, it will also have a distinctive crystal habit (for example, hexagonal, columnar, botryoidal) that reflects the crystal structure
    or internal arrangement of atoms.

  • Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.

  • In combination with the point symmetries, they form 230 possible space groups.

  • [8]: 54  Isomorphous minerals of different compositions have similar powder diffraction patterns, the main difference being in spacing and intensity of lines.

  • [6] René Just Haüy, the “father of modern crystallography”, showed that crystals are periodic and established that the orientations of crystal faces can be expressed in terms
    of rational numbers, as later encoded in the Miller indices.

  • However, the distribution has a long tail, with 34% of the minerals having been found at only one or two locations.

  • The model predicts that thousands more mineral species may await discovery or have formed and then been lost to erosion, burial or other processes.

  • It, however, retains a focus on the crystal structures commonly encountered in rock-forming minerals (such as the perovskites, clay minerals and framework silicates).

  • Crystals whose point symmetry group falls in the cubic system are isotropic: the index does not depend on direction.

  • [9]: 224–225  Since 1960, most chemistry analysis is done using instruments.

  • [19] A new approach to mineralogy called mineral evolution explores the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere, including the role of minerals in the origin of life and
    processes as mineral-catalyzed organic synthesis and the selective adsorption of organic molecules on mineral surfaces.

  • [31] Uses Minerals are essential to various needs within human society, such as minerals used as ores for essential components of metal products used in various commodities
    and machinery, essential components to building materials such as limestone, marble, granite, gravel, glass, plaster, cement, etc.

  • Together, they make up a mathematical object called a crystallographic point group or crystal class.

  • The analysis can show which minerals tend to coexist and what conditions (geological, physical, chemical and biological) are associated with them.

  • Mineralogy[n 1] is a subject of geology specializing in the scientific study of the chemistry, crystal structure, and physical (including optical) properties of minerals and
    mineralized artifacts.

  • However, an anisotropic sample will generally change the polarization so some of the light can pass through.

  • [23] This database makes it possible to apply statistics to answer new questions, an approach that has been called mineral ecology.

  • Diffraction, the constructive and destructive interference between waves scattered at different atoms, leads to distinctive patterns of high and low intensity that depend
    on the geometry of the crystal.


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