Minerals vs Crystals
Mineralogy is the study of minerals. More than 4000 minerals have been discovered, and they have a crystalline structure. Inside the earth, due to heat and various other reactions, minerals and rocks melt together. When they are cooled slowly, crystals form. When this cooling happens over thousands of years, larger crystals may form. Through mining, people dig these deposits and use them for various purposes. Other than underground crystals, there are some in the earths’ surface. These crystals have formed when the melted rocks and minerals come up from underground and cooled in the surface. Other than their economic values, minerals are important for plant and animal life too. Minerals and naturally occurring crystals are non renewable resources, and it is our responsibility to use them sustainably.
Minerals are present in the natural environment. They can be found in earths’ surface and underground. They are homogenous solids and they have regular structures. Minerals are found in rocks, ores and natural mineral deposits. For example, hematite and magnetite are found in iron ores. Minerals like gems and diamonds are rare. There are a large number of minerals, and they can be identified by studying their shape, color, structure and properties. Some minerals are shiny (e.g.: gold, silver) and some are not. Cleavage is the way minerals split apart naturally. Some minerals split into cubes, and some are split to irregular shapes. To measure the hardness of a mineral, Mohs scale is used. It is a 1-10 scale, and diamond is rated as 10 in that scale which is very harder than talc, which is rated as 1.
Crystals are solids, which have ordered structures and symmetry. The atoms, molecules or ions in crystals are arranged in a particular manner, thus, have a long range order. Crystals are naturally occurring on earth as large crystalline rocks, such as quartz, granite. Crystals are formed by living organisms too. For example, calcite is produced by mollusks. There are water based crystals in the form of snow, ice or glaciers. Crystals can be categorized according to their physical and chemical properties. They are covalent crystals (e.g.: diamond), metallic crystals (e.g.: pyrite), ionic crystals (e.g.: sodium chloride) and molecular crystals (e.g.: sugar). Crystals can have different shapes and colors. Crystals have an aesthetic value, and also it is believed to have healing properties, thus, people use them to make jewelry. Moreover, people use crystals like quartz to make glass, clocks and some computer parts.
By definition, a crystal is “a homogenous chemical compound with a regular and periodic arrangement of atoms. Examples are halite, salt (NaCl), and quartz (SiO2). But crystals are not restricted to minerals: they comprise most solid matter such as sugar, cellulose, metals, bones and even DNA.”
“A mineral is a naturally occurring chemical compound. Most minerals are crystalline.”
Minerals Vs crystals
– Most of the minerals are crystals, but all the crystals are not minerals.
– Minerals are naturally occurring, but all the crystals are not natural.