Common minerals to know

Here are some common minerals whose names and formulas are good to know, along with some of their properties!

(In rows, left to right; H=hardness, tested in lab using Mohs hardness scale)

1) Halite (NaCl) – H=3.5; it tastes salty! (yes, lick it)

2) Fluorite (CaF2) – H=4; ranges from transparent, to purple, to blue

3) Sylvite (KCl) – H=3.5; tastes really bitter and salty

4) Microcline (KAlSi3O8) – H=7.5; feldspar, often may have a greenish color

5) Calcite (CaCO3) – H=3; reacts with hydrochloric acid, bubbles and fizzes

6) Albite (NaAlSi3O8) – H=7; feldspar, light colored

Specimens from Lawrence University collections; all photos by author

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