Outdoors Information

How Are Minerals Formed?


MINERALS are naturally occuring, inorganic solids, with a characteristic chemical composition, having a regular atomic structure throughout. Man-made industrial diamonds are not considered true minerals. Having said that, there are also some Organic Minerals, such as Amber. Purists are reluctant to call organic minerals minerals, but they satisfy at least three of the criteria for inorganic mineral makeup, and therefore the point is open to debate.

How Many Minerals are there? There are about 4000 listed minerals on this planet but only a relatively few have gained popularity due to their pleasing apperance, often bizarre shapes, exquisite spectrum of colours, and trading value. Minerals are generally composed of more than one element or compound. Those which are made up of only one element are called Native Elements e.g. gold, silver, mercury, copper. The Conquistadores fell in love with New World gold and "liberated" it by the ship-load to fill the coffers of Government and Church in Spain. Silver too, along with Topaz, Tourmaline, Agate, Ruby, Diamond and many other precious rocks and minerals, have been highly prized for as long as Man was first enchanted by their beauty, commercial value and status it imparted to the wearer.

So, just how are minerals formed? Minerals can be formed in a wide variety of geological environments; deep inside volcanos, at the bottoms of deep oceans, deserts, salt lakes and cooling deep deposits of molten rock. Also, under the influence of heat and or pressure, when solutions and gasses holding concentrations of specific elements cool or evaporate, minerals growths are deposited inside rock fissures or voids. These minerals are sometimes forced through as a suspension in water, the water then evaporating leaving the mineral deposits as crystals (e.g. Amethyst) when the rock void is not fully filled or as Agates, when the rock is completely filled. These minerals are only visible when the rock is split open; it takes some skill to decide which rock to crack open! More about that later. An example of such crystal and mineral specimens for collectors are Geodes which are round rocks containing precipitated mineral salts, these being comomonly Agates (caused by mineral salt crystals forming inside Basalt rocks), Amethysts, Quartz, Jasper.

Minerals don't necessarily need heat or pressure to be formed; water saturated with mineral salts can leave deposits (Stalactites) as it drips down from the roof of a cave, forming corresponding Stalagmites directly below, over the centuries, where the drips hit. Eventually both grow to meet each other and thicken over the years. Sometimes, as a novelty, tourists can hang an item on a line at a cave, over which calcium carbonate saturated water runs; over a period of a few months it becomes encased in a hardening deposit of Calcium Carbonate.

THE THREE TYPES OF ROCK. Ok, the basic scene has been set, now let's examine in more detail the different mechanisms involved in mineral formation. All minerals are formed from ROCKS, which are an aggregate or mixture of various minerals and are the basic materials from which a mineral is formed. Rocks can be either:
Igneous - formed due to volcanic activity from the Earth's core.
Metamorphic - formed because of pressure or heat (e.g. tectonic plates colliding) on existing rocks, changing them into another type of rock.
Sedimentary - resulting from the layered compaction of weathered rock materials and/or shells.

Let us examine these rocks a little further:-

IGNEOUS ROCKS(from the Latin ignis - fire) can be further categorised as being   



Stienstra: Fall's perfect double-header — outdoors and baseball
Sections. SFGatevisit|Home|navigation-www|1 · SFGatevisit|Home|navigation-www|1 · Contact SFGateopen|Home-Contact SFGate|navigation-www|1 · About SFGateopen|Home-About SFGate|navigation-www|2 · About SF Chronicleopen|Home-About SF ...

Bucyrus Telegraph Forum

Ring-necked pheasants to be released at 27 Ohio sites
Bucyrus Telegraph Forum
... pockets for $1,75 or three packs for $4.95. For more information, visit http//thepeepocket.com. Dick Martin is a retired Shelby biology teacher and author who has written an outdoor column for more than 20 years. He can be reached at richmart@neo ...

New York Times

Girl Scouts Debate Their Place in a Changing World
New York Times
Camping and other traditional activities are still mainstays of girl scouting — some 670,000 girls attended camps or participated in outdoor scouting activities in 2013 — nor will they ever disappear, said Vicki Wright, who has spent 35 years working ...
Editorial: Scouting provides directionTopeka Capital Journal

all 4 news articles »

Outdoors notebook: Majority of doves taken in early season
Dallas Morning News
Dove season closes statewide Monday. The season reopens Dec. 19-Jan. 7 in the North and Central zones and Dec. 19-Jan. 25 in the South zone. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's dove program leader Shaun Oldenburger said harvest analysis ...

The News Journal

Delaware parkland projects could see new life
The News Journal
It allows the state to spend up to 5 percent of the endowment each year on outdoor development and environmental stewardship. And it directs $1 million to a fund dedicated to improving visitor infrastructure in fish and wildlife areas and on Delaware's ...

Outdoors notebook: Area angler honored for working with kids
In today's Flip Side with the Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi, Rob and CineSport's Chad Cutler discuss the poor attendance at Heinz Field during Pitt's win over Virginia Tech Thursday night. Get More Pitt Panthers at TRIBLIVE.com ...

Kansas City Star

Photo gallery: Dogtober Fest
Kansas City Star
Gideon raced through the poles course Sunday, October 19, 2014 at the 21st annual Dogtober Fest at the Kemper Outdoor Education Center, in Fleming Park. Owner Maureen Rettig, of Lee's Summit, ran along side. | SUSAN PFANNMULLER/Special to the ...

and more »


Do remains belong to missing Virginia student?
On Sunday, the area was buzzing with people having brunch at outdoor cafes on a brisk, sunny day. Graham's disappearance and the discovery of human remains was a frequent topic of conversation. "Everybody was rattled. Everybody knew it was coming, ...
Goal of search in Va. shifts from body to cluesThe Columbian

all 904 news articles »

Outdoors: Seneca Lake lamprey treatment to begin
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Look for the state's lampricide treatment of the Catharine Creek canal near Watkins Glen to begin Tuesday and Wednesday, weather permitting. The Department of Environmental Conservation will treat the canal waters inhabited by juvenile sea lampreys ...

and more »

The Courier-Journal

Outdoors | Early deer hunting seasons end
The Courier-Journal
Gary Potter of Ranier, Minn., prepares to remove the hook from a smallmouth bass he caught on the Rainy River at International Falls, Minn., July 28, 2006. He caught the fish on a plastic bait called a Jerk Shad, which had slipped up the line. This is ...

Google News

Article List | Index | Site Map
All logos, trademarks and articles on this site are property and copyright of their respective owner(s).
The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is Copyright © 2006 CanadaSEEK.com - All Rights Reserved.