+ How are Minerals Identified?

Other Identifying Characteristics

Minerals have other properties that can be used for identification. For example, a mineral’s shape may indicate its crystal structure. Sometimes crystals are too small to see. Then a mineralogist may use a special instrument to find the crystal structure.

Some minerals have unique properties. These can be used to the minerals. Some of these properties are listed in Table. An example of a mineral that has each property is also listed.

Special Mineral Properties
Property Description Example of Mineral
Fluorescence Mineral glows under ultraviolet light Fluorite
Magnetism Mineral is attracted to a magnet Magnetite
Radioactivity Mineral gives off radiation that can be measured with Geiger counter Uraninite
Reactivity Bubbles form when mineral is exposed to a weak acid Calcite
Smell Some minerals have a distinctive smell Sulfur (smells like rotten eggs)