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CSU GEOL 120 - Mineral Mystery Lab

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GEOL 121 Name Dylan Hale Lab Section 002 1 MINERAL MYSTERY LAB Learning Objectives At the end of this lab students will be able to: ● Observe characteristics of minerals. ● Describe differences in physical properties of minerals ● Use physical properties to identify minerals. ● Develop and produce a system for identifying different minerals via a flow chart. Introduction Ultimately, geology is about storytelling; we can think of the entire Earth’s history as a book, the pages in the book are filled with stories that we developed by looking at the rocks that form our planet. Minerals that make up those rocks help us identify the rocks, so we can tell their stories. We also use minerals in our lives every day, often without even noticing. Minerals are in your cell phone, your car, your countertops (well, some of our countertops anyway) and even your walls. So, not only do minerals help us tell Earth’s story but they also help make our modern lives possible. Minerals come in all shapes, colors, and sizes but they share common characteristics that we can use to sort them into groups. In this lab, you take on the role of a mineralogist by testing various physical properties, sorting minerals into categories with similar characteristics, and then creating a flowchart to use to identify minerals.Mineral Mystery Lab GEOL 121 2 Step 1: Search for clues Observe the grid of minerals in front of you. None of them are currently named - that’s okay! Before we get into labeling, let’s take a close look at each of the minerals. Q1. What are some physical characteristics that multiple minerals share? What are three different ways that you could divide these minerals into 2–3 groups based on those characteristics? Option 1 Group 1 characteristic: Translucent, Clear Group 2 characteristic: Darker colored Group 3 characteristic (optional): Mineral(s): K, A, B, C Mineral(s): I, D, E H, L Mineral(s): Option 2 Group 1 characteristic: Reflective Group 2 characteristic: Non-Reflective Group 3 characteristic (optional): Mineral(s): H, I, J, B Mineral(s): A, K , G Mineral(s): Option 3 Group 1 characteristic: Smooth Group 2 characteristic: Rough Group 3 characteristic (optional): Mineral(s): J, I ,B, C Mineral(s): L, K , D, A , H , E Mineral(s): Once you have come up with three different ways to divide these minerals into groups based on their physical characteristics, compare the groups you made with the other pair of students in your small group. What groups are the same? What groups are different? Is there more than one valid way to group the minerals?Mineral Mystery Lab GEOL 121 3 Q2. Take a look at the tools next to your mineral grid. Try out some of these tools on your minerals. Some tools are for getting a closer look at the minerals, some are for scratching the minerals, and some are for checking the streak a mineral makes. The HCl bottle is used to check for effervescence (i.e. a fizz reaction). Are there any similarities between how different minerals interact with particular tools? What are some other ways that you could divide these minerals into 2–3 groups, based on those similarities? Option 1 Group 1 characteristic: No reaction to acid Group 2 characteristic: Reaction to acid Group 3 characteristic (optional): Mineral(s): H, K, C, A, F Mineral(s): G, E Mineral(s): Option 2 Group 1 characteristic: Does show scratch mark Group 2 characteristic: Does not show scratch mark Group 3 characteristic (optional): Mineral(s): L, G, K, H, D, B, J Mineral(s): A, D, F, Mineral(s): Option 3 Group 1 characteristic: Magnetic Group 2 characteristic: Non-Magnetic Group 3 characteristic (optional): Mineral(s): D, Mineral(s): C, E, K , F , A , B, I, J , H, L G Mineral(s):Mineral Mystery Lab GEOL 121 4 Q3. Compare the following pairs of minerals and list any differences that you notice between the two. Differences in terms of physical characteristics and differences in terms of interaction with tools are both valid! Mineral A Mineral F Hard, Glossy Milky, Glossy Mineral B Mineral J Smooth, Flat Dense, Glossy Mineral C Mineral G Crystalline, Translucent Milky, somewhat reflective Mineral D Mineral K Rough, Abrasive, Dark, Dense Granite Looking, Light Colored, Texture is somewhere in between smooth and roughMineral Mystery Lab GEOL 121 5 Mineral E Mineral I Shiny, Abrasive Very Reflective, More Dense, Relatively Smooth Mineral H Mineral L Dark, Reflective, Light weight Smooth on two sides and Abrasive on the other, Dark, Non reflective Again, reconvene with your small group. For each mineral pair, discuss what difference you think will be the most useful for distinguishing between the two minerals. Come to a consensus for each mineral pair within your small group. Circle or highlight that difference in each of the tables above.Mineral Mystery Lab GEOL 121 6 Q4. Now put together all of your observations! List 3–5 physical properties for each mineral: Mineral A Solid White, Milky, Hard Mineral B Translucent, Smooth and Flat Mineral C Crystalline, Translucent, Light Mineral D Rough, Abrasive, Dark Mineral E Shiny, Abrasive, Glassy Mineral F White, Opaque, Clear Mineral G Milky, somewhat reflective, Non-Magnetic, Mineral H No reaction to acid, Dark, No magnetic Mineral I Non magnetic, Very reflective, Dense Mineral J Dense, Glossy, Shows Streak Mineral K No reaction to acid, Nonmagnetic, Shows Streak Mineral L Non-Magnetic, does not show streak, Non-reflectiveMineral Mystery Lab GEOL 121 7 Step 2: Identify the suspects Q1. What did you learn from Step 1? From doing the activity in step 1 I learned how different traits of rocks effect things like streak, luster, cleavage etc.. It was interesting to see how each rock reacted to our tests using the tools provided. Q2. Applying your understanding of mineral physical properties, use the following table (which contains the name and physical properties of minerals) to identify your 12 unknown mineral specimens. We will identify Mineral A and Mineral B together as a class. Work in pairs and then share your findings with your larger group. Place your answers in the space provided, below the table. Quartz SiO2 Color: colorless, white, pink, any color Streak: white/colorless Luster: glassy Hardness: 7


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