Talk:Mineral

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Comment 1[edit]

  • could use some help on getting dietary minerals 'fleshed out'
  • The entry on Bong Water is irrelevant. Also there is no citation so I’m removing it.
  • Quote:

"Trying to list all the minerals here would probably be counter-productive; maybe they can be linked from their chemical compositions".

  • End quote
  • could some shed some light on this. Ktsquare

Dana system (from James Dwight Dana, an american mineralogist). The basis of the system is the division of minerals into classes according to similarities in chemical composition. It is a system of classification coming from the Berzelius classification.

The first class, natives elements, includes minerals found as individual elements uncombined with other elements. As minerals, they are called by the name of the element. These are gold, copper, mercury...or sometimes have specific names (diamond, graphite)

The second class of simple compounds, sulfides, are metals combined with sulfure, arsenic, antimony, bismuth, tellurium, selenium. Most have a metallic luster

The third class, sulfosalts, are composed of the same elements, but with more complexe combinations

Fourth class are oxides. Rather simple compounds with oxygen (ex corindon)

Fifth class are hydroxide, oxides with water.

Then halides, are metals plus one or more of the halogen elements, chlorine, fluorine, bromine, iodine.

Other classes are carbonates, phosphates, nitrates, borates, arsenates, and sulfates

And finally silicates (the larger and most diverse class), in which silicon and oxygen form a structural unit than can bond to other elements.

Does it make light Ktsquare ???

Good to know the Dana system. The writer of the quote means different minerals may only result from different crystal structures even with the same chemical composition. So one chemical composition could have thousands of minerals because of different structures.

No, that's not what he meant :-) There is no only in the quote. Minerals may be different due to different compositions, or for the same composition, due to different structural arrangements. For one composition, a maximum of 14 different structure are known (see Crystal structure). So for one identical composition, a maximum of 14 minerals can potentially be observed.

But given the system, a list of all the materials will be beneficial in Wikipedia to clssify all the minerals articles. Wikipedia has exactly 402 articles (as of this morning) containing the word "mineral". Actual number of mineral-related articles may be even higher. Won't that be a mess without a list considering the ever growing number of articles?

I disagree. I don't know exactly, but imho there are about 4000 different mineral species described. I don't think a list of 4000 minerals would be very useful. And they will be even less useful if you classify them alphabetically. If someone look for a very specific mineral, dunno, sugilite, he will type the name of the mineral in the search box; and either he will find the comprehensive specific article on sugilite, or he will find it among similar minerals in terms of family (composition / structure).
I don't see a list of 4000 minerals (even with divisions of A, B, C...) as very useful. Similarly, there are about 4000 mammals known; wikipedia is classifying them along most widely accepted classification rules, based on evolution. Is there somewhere a list of the 4000 mammals on wikipedia ? This list might exist one day, but what has been considered the most useful was to describe classification, and fit there well-known species, and make specific articles on these latter. Why should not it be just the same for minerals ?

Is this system the commonly used and how they implement it on classifying minerals? Or mineralogists have several systems depending on different criteria, just as the Acid-base reaction theories. User:kt2

This is the system the most widely used in western countries. I can't say for sure this is the case for eastern countries, but, chinese mineralogists seem to be following it. There is another system, extremely similar, used by Germans (unfortunately, the name of the guy is escaping me). It is similar to the Dana system in this that the classification is done first on the composition, then second on the structure (and usually goes from the simpler structures, to the most complicated ones). The only major difference is that Germans are classifying quartz and derivates among oxides, while english (and french ;-)) are classifying them among silicates (this would be important to note in both systems). No big deal. In any cases, for english-speaking people, this is definitly the way to go.

Both systems could coexist maybe. A huge listing, and the scholar classification system. Might also consider making a short list of "most famous minerals" or something equivalent.

these should be (the "rock-forming" minerals): Quartz, Feldspar (Orthoclase, Sanidin, Microcline, Albite, Plagioclase), Pyroxenes, Amphiboles, Olivine, Biotite, Muscovite, Calcite, Dolomite, Garnet, Magnetite and possibly some five more.--chd

How to implement it ?
Best way would be to pick up a book of mineralogy.

For example, you could do something like (I put french name for the example)

  • Elements
    • diamond
    • soufre...
  • Sulfures
    • Chalcopyrite
    • pyrite
    • sphalerite...
  • Halogenures
    • Fluorite
  • Oxydes et hydroxydes
    • hematite
    • cuprite...
  • Sulfate, chromates, molybdates, wolframates
    • crocoïte...
  • Silicates
    • albite
    • kunzite...

With a first article listing the groups (elements, silicates...), then a specific page for each group, explaining its composition specificities, then listing minerals belonging to the group.

Just ideas


In germany minerals are classified after H. Strunz (Strunz Hugo, Nickel Ernest H., Strunz Mineralogical Tables, 9th ed, Schweizerbart'sche, 2001): this classification is based on the anions. Quartz is counted among the oxides. There are nine different classes:

  1. elements
  2. sulfides
  3. halogenides
  4. oxides and hydroxides
  5. nitrates, karbonates and borates
  6. sulfates, chromates, molybdates and wolframites
  7. phosphates, arsenates and vanadates
  8. silicates
    1. neso-islandsilicates
    2. soro-groupsilicates
    3. cyclo-ringsilicates
    4. ino-chainsilicates
    5. phyllo-leafsilicates
    6. tecto-framesilicates
  9. organic minerals

I am not sure about the correct translations! --chd 06:10 Dec 30, 2002 (UTC)

sulfide vs sulphide etc -- OK discuss![edit]

Quoting from: American and British English differences

"sulphur sulfur The American spelling is the international standard in the sciences, although many British scientists use the British spelling."

User:Darrien wins; User:SimonP loses.
Note: I'm not reverting in haste - request User:SimonP stop this nonsense and revert to the accepted standard; sulfide, sulfate and sulfur. Mineral is a science topic.
Vsmith 00:47, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Right. As a speaker of Canadian English and a scientist, I use the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry IUPAC recommended spelling in scientific communication even though it will always look wrong to me, and still use the "ph" spelling for any literary non-scientific context. IUPAC has spoken. Fawcett5 13:41, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

As another Canuck I am always confused between US and UK spelling. We are not alone: I once saw "Sulfuric Acid" and Sulphuric Acid" on two sides of the same tank in a mine processing plant in Australia. But there is an international std. It is a pity IUPAC did not rule on the correct spelling of fosfate. Judge Nutmeg 03:23, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

MoS violation[edit]

(note: copying the following from my talk page, it belongs here for other interested parties to read. See also SimonP's talk page this topic.) -Vsmith 23:03, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

American spelling is the international standard according to whom? English, unlike other languages, has no central authority on proper usage. There are several organizations, such as IUPAC, the OED, and others that attempt to set rules but there is no reason we must follow them. Even many scientific periodicals and journals do not follow the convention you mention, much less encyclopedias. Most UK scientific journals still seem to use British spelling, as any database search will show. - SimonP 17:39, Sep 27, 2004 (UTC)

According to IUPAC and as my quote indicated according to Wikipedia policy. Standards are important for consistency and clarity. In science articles the standards should be used with notes for common names and spellings where needed. I'm not used to the standard for aluminium, and often forget in common usage, but I intend to use the standards and will support Darrien to standardize usage in Wikipedia science articles.

Vsmith 22:56, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Please do not provoke disputes by changing original contributor's spelling. A Google search for "sulphur site:.gov" (which is restricting itself to sites belonging to the United States Government) gives 40,000 hits. Both spellings are perfectly acceptable. What the IUPAC say has nothing to do with Wikipedia. Mintguy (T) 16:49, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Your Google search is irrelevant. US Govt. is noted for inconsistency - Wiki can do better and follow standard usage and be consistent.-Vsmith

Check the history. Original article in 2002 didn't have sulfide or sulphide. First use of either was by Anthere on 18 Dec 02, when he introduced sulfide. Major changes 04 Mar 03 by Cferrero intrduced sulfate. The first use of sulphur was by an anon user 16 Apr 04. Darrien changed this to sulfur for consistency on 11 Jul 04. Then SimonP arbitrarily changed all f's to ph's on 25 Sep 04. This started this round of silliness. Original was sulfide. Stop vandalizing with sulph- nonsense. -Vsmith 00:52, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Please don't accuse me of vandalising over spelling. OK I apologise. I read this situation wrong. The reason being that 9/10 times in these sorts of disputes, the cause of the trouble is someone changing BE spelling to AE spellings. See here and [here for a humorous take on this. BTW Anthere is a she not a he. Mintguy (T) 07:42, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

mineral classification[edit]

For information and hope, that anyone has time and likes to translate the german de:Systematik der Minerale nach Hugo Strunz (mineral classification to Strunz). greetings -- 80.141.17.81 10:01, 21 September 2006 (UTC) (P.S.:you find me as Ra'ike (Disk.) on de:Wikipedia

Hanging pointer[edit]

The phrase "(see also Minerals and Rocks section below)" is referring to a nonexistent section. (SEWilco (talk) 04:48, 19 November 2007 (UTC))

Possible article error in mineral, Ankerite[edit]

Going by the Web Mineral webpage, it has the formula, Ca(Mn,Mg,Fe++)(CO3)2 and calls it Kutnohorite. While on the webpage, Ankerite, the formula is very similar, if not the same. Thanks, Marasama (talk) 06:36, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

While similer the Formulas are not the same. The position of the elements in the formula and the subscripts tell the amounts of each in the composition. Kevmin (talk) 09:38, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Definition conflicts[edit]

In the section for definition of the word mineral, the newer version of the definition allowing for minerals to be organic is used. The very next section on the difference between a rock and a mineral, the traditional definition of a mineral as inorganic is used. To avoid confusion, wouldn't be better to use the same definition throughout? Zappa2496 (talk) 06:59, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Secondary minerals?[edit]

Please see this question from the Science RefDesk. Would it be appropriate (and is anyone willing) to add a section to this article on "secondary minerals" so that we can wiki-link the many articles that use this term? I ran across the term in the Wulfenite article, and can only guess at its meaning (I doubt I'm alone among WP readers). --Scray (talk) 00:59, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Secondary minerals are those formed under a weathering or oxidizing environment at or near Earth's surface, most often used in discussing surface expressions of ore deposits (least that's where I've seen the term most). That said, perhaps the best place for clarification would be the weathering article ... still thinking. Vsmith (talk) 14:43, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Added to weathering, see Weathering#Chemical_weathering. Vsmith (talk) 15:15, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Nice work! --Scray (talk) 03:09, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

A solid, by definition? What about gas, water and oil?[edit]

"A mineral is a naturally occurring solid" - is it necessarily so, solid? --Extremophile (talk) 02:02, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

That's part of the definition - not only solid, but a solid with a regular crystal structure. Thus glass, amber (and other resins), opal and other amorphous solids don't make the cut. See mineraloid. Vsmith (talk) 04:05, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Ok then, and thanks. I just pointed/asked because I thought that "mineral" was essentially "any natural, nonliving, thing you can mine for", and even though they might be mostly ores, solids in a nontechnical sense, it wasn't restricted to that. --Extremophile (talk) 21:09, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

There are soluble species of minerals. E.g.: http://www.columbia.edu/~ps24/PDFs/Mineral%20Solution%20Equilibria%20in%20Sparingly%20Soluble%20Mineral%20Sys.pdf. 142.207.36.166 (talk) 21:07, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Most minerals are soluble under the right conditions, but that doesn't mean they exist as the coherent mineral in solution - it means that they break apart and their chemical ions or constituents are dissolved in the solution, example from your linked ref:
  • CaCO3(the solid mineral) → Ca2+ + CO32-(the dissolved ions in solution, 1st step)
Vsmith (talk) 03:30, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Reformatting all individual mineral data with optical mineralogy info[edit]

This is a great resource that could be easily mined to include all the relevant optical mineralogy data that mindat is missing. http://www.nslc.ucla.edu/pet/mineral_html/Calcite.html Just type in the mineral name as html page and you get all the info like extinction and pleochroism that is missing from almost all the mineral pages. The way the info is set up right now the data is far too sparse to be useful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.31.44.52 (talk) 04:50, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Neat, and great thin section pics on next page (chlorite). However, doesn't really qualify as WP:RS as it's a school/course supplemental site with no easy access to other mins from that page and no indication there of sources they are using. Vsmith (talk) 14:40, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Ecological v. geological[edit]

Lead sentence says: "A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance that is formed through geological processes..." I changed this to include ecological processes as well. Mineralization is not just a geological process - ecology is central - just do a google scholar search on "ecological mineralization". Moreover, it is not only a solid - there are soluble minerals. I noticed that Mr. Vsmith got rid of ecology without any scientific justification for doing so. The mineral cycle on Earth would not work without lichens, bacterial, and other heterotrophs that are active agents in the decay of rocks into minerals. This is not geological - it is ecological. Until you bring ecology into the definition this article will lack credibility.142.207.36.166 (talk) 18:44, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

I just did a googlescholar search on "ecological mineralization" as suggested and got exactly one hit. Also minerals may be soluble but once dissolved they are no longer minerals. I am reverting your change awaiting further discussion and supporting sources. Mikenorton (talk) 22:06, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
The mineral cycle seems to be an outdated concept (very few uses in recent scholar articles), it appears to be closer to dietary mineral, unless I am completely misunderstanding. Mikenorton (talk) 22:13, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
It is pretty basic science and well known that ecological mineralization is fundamental to the formation process. Lichens and bacteria, for example, add to the weathering of rock and its mineralization process (http://www.pnas.org/content/96/7/3404.abstract). I doubt you did a proper search - it took me two seconds to find multiple peer-reviewed articles on this topic; for example: http://www.sph.sc.edu/ENHS/decho/pdf/DechoMS2009EcolEngFinalProof.pdf - "Bacteria are associated with mineralization and dissolution processes, some of which may enhance or compromise the physical stability of engineered structures." Try your search again - leave the quotes out. Moreover, it is NOT true that once dissolved they are no longer minerals (e.g., http://stage.iupac.org/originalWeb/publications/pac/2002/pdf/7410x1851.pdf) - halite, magnetite, and hematite are examples soluble minerals. How on earth could plants absorb minerals unless soluble? I am an ecologist and I study these kinds of processes. In ecology, mineralization usually refers to the decomposition of organic nutrients into inorganic mineral compounds (usually in the B-horizon).142.207.36.166 (talk) 22:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Try Biomineralization142.207.36.166 (talk) 22:37, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Well obviously I did the search exactly as suggested :). I am of course aware of biomineralization and that should be in the article but I think that the minerals that plants absorb are not minerals in the sense being described in this article, but in sense that 'mineral' is used in the dietary mineral page. The article about lichen being important in dissolution would certainly be important in the weathering article but I'm not convinced that it's appropriate here. Mikenorton (talk) 22:54, 16 May 2011 (UTC)]
I disagree and hope to see some discussion here. This goes against everything that I have learned in context of what constitutes a mineral. I don't know what minerals you are thinking of - but a mineral is a mineral - it doesn't matter if it is in a rock or in an organism. This isn't the dark ages where we segregate things into wind, earth, and fire - there is no strict barrier in between the science of geology and ecology, they grade into one another. At our institution I work with geologists as we research the weathering processes in rocks and soils releasing nutrients. We use the same analytical equipment and see the same elemental peaks if we are looking at biotic or abiotic minerals. There are mineral nutrients (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, nitrogen, sulfur, sodium, potassium, and so forth), but then these are also classified as minerals proper. The distinction you are making is not real - nor scientific.142.207.36.166 (talk) 23:18, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
The definition used in the article follows usage in geology and mineralogy and is supported by WP:reliable sources. We don't change it based on our personal belief or what we learned in some class. The elements you list as mineral nutrient are chemical elements and, with the exception of carbon (as diamond and graphite) and native sulfur, do not occur as solids by themselves in nature that is as minerals. The use of the word "mineral" to refer to mineral nutrients as you state is covered in the dietary mineral article. The distinction made above and in the article very definitely is both real and scientific just refer to the references in the article or any good mineralogy text. Vsmith (talk) 03:11, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
You are mistaken. When I look up in the back of a textbook - such as Campbell's biology - in the index it says mineral. It does not say mineral (excluding those from geology). This is not information I have learned in some class - I am a scientist and I work in a chemistry lab with other scientists - a consortium of researchers including soil scientists, geologists, and ecologists. We research papers, publish papers, and discuss these issues on a regular basis. If you are unsatisfied with the chemical elements - which are minerals btw - then you can look to other branches of life, such as the diatoms with silica skeletons. Or what about aragonite, calcite forms of calcium carbonate, or carbonate hydroxyapatite in coral skeleton's - here [1] is a nice review paper on this topic where they state "Corals also represent a testing ground for basic ideas about mineralogy and geochemistry." Doesn't sound like a whimsical opinion to me - peer-reviewed reliable sources. You could attempt to create a disambiguation page - but this would go against the scientific taxonomy of what constitutes a mineral. Minerals are not just geological - they are part of the planets biogeochemistry and this is the accepted scientific norm. This paper (Lowenstam, HA. 1981. Minerals formed by organisms. Science: 211(4487), 1126-1131.) states: "Organisms are capable of forming a diverse array of minerals, some of which cannot be formed inorganically in the biosphere." They did not state - minerals in organisms are distinguished from the minerals that geologists speak about - we use the same term mineral - but just ignore the similarity in the word, because the minerals and mineral forming processes we talk about have nothing to do with the stuff geologists are talking about - so says wikipedia. That is absurd. This book chapter (http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=L8Be8rprGgkC&oi=fnd&pg=PA191&dq=minerals+in+organisms&ots=EbxBIcq9LO&sig=P_p1cbQtLSGZkQBEufh9D_NSZ7E#v=onepage&q=minerals%20in%20organisms&f=false) provides a list of minerals formed by organisms - and that list has grown since 1983. This is a discussion topic that is taking place in materials science (e.g,. Meyers, M. A., Chen, P., Lin, A. Y., & Seki, Y. (2008). Biological materials: Structure and mechanical properties. Progress in Materials Science, 53(1), 1-206.). Bones are another example: "Not only are bone crystallites extremely small, they are often described as “poorly crystalline” because of the broad X-ray diffraction peaks (relative to synthetic HA), which is thought to arise from the incorporation of impurities, such as carbonate, sodium and magnesium ions (4–6% carbonate; 0.9% Na; 0.5% Mg) [18], [63] and [64], and non-stoichiometry of the biogenic mineral. The carbonated form of apatite has the mineral name of Dahllite, which is sometimes used in the bone literature [5], [18] and [65], but more commonly biological apatite is referred to hydroxyapatite. Bone mineral is a calcium-deficient apatite, with a Ca:P ratio less than 1.67, which is the theoretical value for pure hydroxyapatite, Ca5(PO4)3(OH) [39] and [64] R.Z. LeGeros, Calcium Phosphate in Oral Biology and Medicine, Karger, NY (1991).[64]." (Olszta, M. J., Cheng, X., Jee, S. S., Kumar, R., Kim, Y., Kaufman, M. J., Douglas, E. P., et al. (2007). Bone structure and formation: A new perspective. Materials Science and Engineering: R: Reports, 58(3-5), 77-116.). This is not adequately covered in the dietary mineral article - because as you can see some of these articles are appearing in publications such as Sedimentary Geology (http://hal.inria.fr/docs/00/27/17/31/PDF/Defarge-SedimentaryGeology-2007.pdf) or Geology (http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/37/7/615.abstract) or Chemical Geology (http://doc.rero.ch/lm.php?url=1000,43,2,20090911122840-HM/samankassou_mic.pdf), which have little to do with dietary minerals. Minerals are formed by geological and biological processes period.142.207.36.166 (talk) 17:03, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
There are two points that you have made - the first that the article should include biomineralization, which I agree with, and the second that minerals in terms of dissolved nutrients should be in there too, which I disagree with. Your latest reply provides support for the former but not the latter. Mikenorton (talk) 22:50, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm not entirely happy with 'formed by biogeochemical processes' - I think that 'formed by geological and biological processes' would be clearer, particularly as most minerals that occur at the surface and even more so at depth have no biological involvement in their formation. Mikenorton (talk) 23:04, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Mikenorton - I agree with your synopsis. Minerals are solids, but some are soluble - so it does get a bit confusing especially at different physical scales. "Biominerals may be produced wherever life forms proliferate, and often do so against a gradient. The only absolute requirement appears to be a solution phase in which biomineralization can take place and nutrients made available." (Skinner 2005 - Mineralogical Magazine, October 2005, Vol. 69(5), pp. 621-641) It should be noted that Skinner (2005) was an author on the The 8th edition of `Dana' and uses the biogeochemical definition of a mineral. I've done a bit of work to clarify the most recent definitions on what constitutes a mineral from the biogeochemical perspective. People who work in our lab completely disagree with the 1995 Nickel definition that excludes biogenic minerals, because we work with soils, lichens, and bacteria in context of biomineralization. That demarcation by Nickel (1995) excluding biominerals was an error for several reasons. Foremost, it neglected a lot of history of the term and precedence for minerals in biology. Moreover, it is not possible to make this distinction because "chemical compounds produced entirely by biological processes without a geological component" do not exist from an ecologists point of view - especially if you want to get down to the Lovelock/Margulis Gain view of the world. We find organisms at great depths into the Earth - much further than previously appreciated. Good luck trying to find a mineral on Earth's crust, surface, or biosphere that doesn't have a bacterium or fungi attached to it - the two are so intertwined that the feedback between geology and biology is of fundamental importance to the mineralization process. Planetary geologists are particularly interested in these questions as they look toward Mars or other planets to study these relations. This is an exciting field that is exploding - because it was not well appreciated how much of an influence living organisms had on the mineralization process until recent genetic techniques allowed us to locate these organisms. I'm a geneticist and so my role is to grab the genes off these minerals as we are trying to sort out the biogeochemistry. I suspect that the IMA will own up to this mistake of trying to exclude biogenic minerals - because it was a re-write of history and pissed off a lot of us working in this field.142.207.36.166 (talk) 18:40, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I've finished my work here - added some literature and citations describing the biogenic classification of minerals and updates on the biogeochemical definition. Feel free to integrate and edit - but to exclude biogenic minerals from this page is a mistake and so I hope I have clarified this. Take care - I may check back in a few years. Now, back to my thesis and research on mineral genetics.142.207.36.166 (talk) 20:31, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Well I see "ecological" has been replaced with "biogeochemical" - perhaps better - do wish you would take a look at the biogeochemistry article and give it a hand as it could use some work. Also, your experience could be put to use in improving the biomineralization article. Thanks for the references; your work will likely be edited and modified as the definition section is now rather overlong and argumentative. Living organisms obviously produce mineral products, a limestone composed almost entirely of shells and shell fragments (coquina) shows an indisputable biologic component, so yes biologic processes are important in mineral formation. However, the vast majority of minerals within the Earth's crust and mantle occur within igneous rocks with no biochemical input - or are you saying magmas are biogeochemical products (Gaia perhaps). We all view things based on our experiences and perspectives, but please read undue weight as your edits may be problematic there. Vsmith (talk) 01:49, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
The clean-up tag can probably now be removed from this section. I re-organized the text - the section is not argumentative in the least. Sorry Vsmith - I've actually written quite a few wikipedia science articles - one featured, two good-articles - but retired and now just choose to remain anonymous and help out here and there when the mood strikes me.70.77.232.44 (talk) 07:22, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
@Vsmith, "However, the vast majority of minerals within the Earth's crust and mantle occur within igneous rocks with no biochemical input - or are you saying magmas are biogeochemical products (Gaia perhaps)." I am not disputing this at all and fully understand how important natural geology is for mineral formation. I'm also not thinking about this in terms of a Gaian philosophy - not entirely. I'm using the peer-reviewed literature and information from the IMA website and meetings that I have attended in putting this together. There are very strong reasons why the 'bio' component is a necessary ingredient - it has for too long been unappreciated how big of an effect it has on mineralization. As a geneticist who has sampled many different rock formations, particles, and surfaces across the globe - I can say from first hand experience that I have yet to find a surface on this planet that isn't covered with microorganisms (fungi or bacteria). Even fresh magma rocks are almost immediately colonized by microorganisms and in one of the papers I cite (Newmann & Banfield, 2002) they state:

"The exciting concept that microorganisms have contributed to the formation of certain ore deposits over geologic time stems from the recognition that they can precipitate metals from solution. Though most ore deposits are thought to relate to transport and deposition by high-temperature fluids and magmas, in some cases low temperature origins may be possible. For example, it has been suggested that iron-oxidizing phototrophs may have played a role in the deposition of Banded Iron Formations over 2.5 billion years ago (35). New evidence has revealed that natural communities of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) can generate essentially pure ZnS deposits from dilute groundwater solutions, providing support for a biogenic origin of many low-temperature metal sulfide ore deposits (36). In addition, recent evidence indicates that hyperthermophilic and mesophilic dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacteria and archaea can couple oxidation of hydrogen to reduction of Au3+, leading to Au0 precipitation (37). Hyperthermophilic microorganisms can couple oxidation of hydrogen or organics to the reduction of metals in hydrothermal solutions, leading to the formation of magnetite (Fe3O4) and uraninite (UO2) ore deposits at ∼100°C (38)."

In the next paragraph they talk about 16S rna sequencing work that was done to identify these microbes - I was the guy working on the benchtop that did that sequencing. Magnify the biogenic activity over geological time - billions of years and the dynamic linkage of this heterotrophic biomass to the process of mineral formation and you have a more significant picture going on here than was formally appreciated. Below I clarify this using Skinner's (2005)[2] own published wording and rational for adding 'bio' into 'biogeochemistry' as part of the definition. Hence, I am not putting undue weight on this - I am using the most recent definition of what a mineral as stated in a peer-reviewed article expressing how important this aspect is. To suggest that the wording was 'argumentative' is a significant stretch - it may have been 'impartial' in its draft format - but I made some revisions to it last night that should satisfy your concerns. It is true that the biogenic component is a bit weighty relative to the proportional mass of minerals, but the historical pivot going from the Nickel (1995) definition that excluded biogenic biominerals to the Skinner (2005) definition that includes biogenic biominerals is of grand significance and needs to be incorporated into the definition. This is a very big deal in mineralogical circles.142.207.36.166 (talk) 18:23, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
One last thing...I want to state my reason for initially disputing the 'solid' aspect to a mineral. While I accept this from an operational perspective and I am satisfied with this from a Standard conditions for temperature and pressure perspective, the distinction from solid to fluid or liquid mineral, however, is something that has been entering the discussion circles from a biomineralization point of view under different physical conditions - such as in hydrothermal vents or at atomic levels. So from a taxonomic perspective - this makes sense, but functionally some of us are trying to think out of the box. I thought I would put this out there so that people would understand why I was initially disputing that all minerals be classified as a solid. There is also a lot of research looking into mineral liquid crystals (e.g., Davidson, P., & Gabriel, J. P. (2005). Mineral liquid crystals. Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science, 9(6), 377-383.) - which kinda brings the solid aspect into question.142.207.36.166 (talk) 18:36, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Geochemical or biogeochemical[edit]

There is no citation that says geochemical in the definition of a mineral - so this cannot be supported. I see that Vsmith states that this incorporates biogeochemical - but I disagree. The Skinner (2005) definition of a mineral specifically states - biogeochemical. Skinner (2005) discusses the specific reason for this in his definition that was presented to the Mineralogical Society:

"An element or compound, amorphous or crystalline, formed through 'biogeochemical' processes. The addition of `bio' reflects a greater appreciation, although an incomplete understanding, of the processes of mineral formation by living forms. Further, the definition acknowledges that some biominerals are barely crystalline but avoids a discussion of `amorphous'."

Hence, there is no support for removing this from the definition because the peer-reviewed expert in the field who is also an author on the 8th edition Dana classification has made clear that the 'bio' component is important. Unless Vsmith can provide a recent citation that has just geochemcial as part of the definition - I vote to have this permanently removed. Second - the tag that was placed on the definition of a mineral stating that it is 'long and overly argumentative' can be removed. It is not argumentative - an earlier draft may have been, but it has been re-written in an impartial voice and summarizes nicely the developments and discussions that have been taking places at the IMA conferences - of which I was in attendance. Indeed, my reason for including biogeochemistry is even more important in context of some of the discussions and talks that were just held at the May 6th meeting (http://www.minersoc.org/pages/groups/emg/emg.html) of which I was in attendance. The keynote address and lecture was on Biominerals and biogeochemistry (http://minersoc-emg.org/events/RiP2011.php). There was a lot of discussion on this in support of Skinners (2005) switch - the science has evolved considerably.142.207.36.166 (talk) 16:11, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Mineral liquid crystals[edit]

Anyone have any ideas or input on how or if this topic on mineral liquid crystals should be incorporated? The following paper gives a fairly solid review on this topic (http://www.nano.com/news/archives/publications/Mineral%20Liquid%20Crystals.pdf). There is no wikipedia page that discusses these - yet there is a lot of research in this area going back almost 100 years. This book chapter gives another excellent review on these (http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QRVVjEAEfQsC&oi=fnd&pg=PA49&dq=%22mineral+liquid+crystals%22&ots=EA9mTntjsG&sig=ThyUnoVbdWpsgQ_soFP7NPqhfnQ#v=onepage&q=%22mineral%20liquid%20crystals%22&f=false). The question is - are these to be considered minerals proper? Herein lies the confusion on the solid-state matter definition of a mineral.142.207.36.166 (talk) 20:07, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Minerals are the consens from mindat.org, IMA, Rruff, Handbook of Mineralogy and Mineralien Atlas databases. Geobiochemical mineral and mineral liquid crystal controversies should be cited, but shouldn't be substantially expanded in mineral. --Chris.urs-o (talk) 03:20, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Addition of image gallery[edit]

I just reverted the addition of an image gallery as we already have 23 images in the article and the Image use policy says that they need to add understanding to the article, rather than just look nice (which they certainly did), and I can't see what they're adding. Mikenorton (talk) 13:46, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

Quote: "There are over 4,300 known mineral species, and 92% of these are silicates."
If I look to RRUFF/ IMA database, then I get 4,663 IMA approved minerals and a total of 4,913 minerals. If I look at List of minerals (complete), then I don't get that 92% of these are silicates (maybe by total weight).
Mineral#Silicates is substantial, Silicate minerals is less deep. Should the section be moved there?
Cheers --Chris.urs-o (talk) 02:04, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I screwed that one up quite a bit... Original quote from source: "[The silicates] constitute 92% of the Earth's crust". I've revised to say that they "compose over 90% of the Earth's crust". I've compared quickly with other sources, and the abundance of silicates in terms of the crust checks out. It doesn't say clearly whether it's by mass or volume; however. I think it would likely be both, as a lot of that remaining 10% would be calcite, so I doubt that denser mineral groups (e.g. oxides, sulfides) would actually factor in enough to make the percentages for volume and mass much different.
Regarding moving the silicate section, I'm aiming to follow summary style, and I think the lengths of the relevant subsections are proportional to their importance. There would be no harm in copying relevant bits to the subarticle, although it could be much more detailed. In the silicate minerals article, you could devote a few paragraphs to just summarize the amphiboles, for example. In other words, the subarticle should have a more detailed summary (although at the moment, there isn't any summary, at all—only a list). Maxim(talk) 23:45, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Ok. It'd not be a good praxis to use the same paragraph twice on Wikipedia, by the way. Cheers --Chris.urs-o (talk) 06:32, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Quote: "The latter mineral can only be formed on Earth by meteorite impacts, and its structure has been composed so much that it had changed from a silicate structure to that of rutile (TiO2)."
Do you mean compressed? --Chris.urs-o (talk) 03:07, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Undue weight to the IMA[edit]

Ok I understand that the IMA is an international body of mineralogists, but theirs is not the only voice in the scientific community, and their policies and practices regarding minerals should not necessarily be the only basis for this article. For example, I'm reading a newly published academic geology text right now which clearly states that liquid mercury is not a mineral, whereas the IMA considers it to be one because it was "grandfathered in" (which, from my lowly prospective, seems like a damn stupid rule—why not grandfather in Pluto to being a planet, or grandfather in the solar system to being geocentric??)

Anyways I made some mention of this in the intro paragraph, but the "definition" section should be updated so it doesn't just mimic the IMA's policies as though they were scientific laws. Unfortunately my book is the old-fashioned offline kind, but I've included a large quote from it to support my changes. --Xiaphias (talk) 21:30, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps you are giving undue emphasis to an introductory geology text. I don't always agree with the IMA, but they are the "experts" here - a group of professional mineralogists attempting to sort out the complexities of mineralogy and standardise things a bit. Authors of intro texts in geology are typically not mineralogists ... don't know about your text. Vsmith (talk) 21:50, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
I think that mercury is entrenched in the literature (medical and legal usage). Professors of Mineralogy exchange thoughts at the IMA meetings, the databases of minerals follow mostly the IMA (mindat.org, webmineral, Rruff, Mineralien Atlas and Handbook of Mineralogy). Some procedures weren't excellent. I'm thinking of imogolite (1962-1986), renaming the apatite mineral group and reverting it (2008-2010); and the wrong editing (discreditation) of montebrasite on mindat.org (c. 2005-2010). IMA, Rruff and Mindat.org aren't perfect, but their know how is up-to-date and it's the best that we are able to get. --Chris.urs-o (talk) 03:24, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Water (liquid) and mercury (liquid) are a defined chemical substance, and they are crystalline at the coldest point on Earth's crust. Amber, opal, oil shale, clathrate hydrate, petroleum and coal are a mixture of chemical substances but are important for the economic geology and the world economy. --Chris.urs-o (talk) 07:10, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Ice[edit]

I've undone a change to the lead which seems to be about the status of ice. We don't need a reference in the lead with a long quote, new textbook or not. There are no doubt varying definitions or statements regarding the status of ice as a mineral. It seems that a number of valid minerals are unstable under surface conditions, but that doesn't change their status as minerals. Vsmith (talk) 21:32, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Ah, I see there was an edit conflict ... and this relates to the above comment by User:Xiaphias. Vsmith (talk) 21:37, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Hmm... looking further I see the following:

Stable at Earth's surface conditions was changed back to Stable at room temperature which is referenced to the Dyar and Gunter text. The wider problem here is that many (most?) minerals are not stable under atmospheric conditions. Diamond will turn into graphite in only a few million years. I see metastable is used in the discussion following that, but mayhaps it (metastability) needs a bit more discussion there. Vsmith (talk) 22:16, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Minerals[edit]

As the earth evolves, it creates more and more minerals. The earth has more than 3,500 minerals. In the stone age, an era where plants and animals alike were known to be a means for survival, the way we use minerals today is a big difference. Although minerals are substances found in nature, they are not alive, but they are solids. There aare minerals in the universe, because minerals are made of atoms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.27.245.145 (talk) 20:28, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 February 2014[edit]

Hello, I noticed something on the first line of the article. The sentence "...representable by a chemical formula" should be "...represented by a chemical formula" because minerals are actually substances. When you say "representable", it means that minerals can be represented as chemical formulas. It can be or cannot be represented, that's what "representable" means. Besides, there's no such word as "representable"

So, please no offense. I'm just a student making some corrections on this article. Thanks for your cooperation.

Elo F...Flores (talk) 11:58, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

I don't know who wrote that, but I can understand why it was "representable". For example, FeNb2O6 is a very crude approximation of columbite - the actual metal composition varies a lot, and there are many more of such examples. Materialscientist (talk) 12:11, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Subscript or superscript[edit]

As part of a task to clean up broken subscript and superscript tags a bug was found in the the Mineral#Carbonates section. The text is

The carbonate group is structurally a triangle, where a central C<sub>4+</sup> cation is 
surrounded by three O<sup>2-</sup> anions;

I'm not sure if the C<sub>4+</sup> should be, C<sub>4+</sub> (C4+), C<sup>4+</sup> (C4+) or C<sub>4</sub><sup>+</sup> (C4+).--Salix alba (talk): 13:51, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Done --Chris.urs-o (talk) 08:17, 2 March 2014 (UTC)