A mineral refers to an inorganic element or compound that is naturally occurring in a solid state and has a specific chemical composition and a regular, internal crystalline structure. A mineral has a highly ordered structure and particular physical properties. Some of the varying physical characteristics of mineral include color, lustre and habit. Color is the first physical property of minerals that varies between same mineral. Color is an apparent aspect in minerals but it proves unreliable in identifying minerals.
It occurs due to the minerals light absorbing and reflecting properties. The variability of color between the samples of the same mineral exists because color mainly comes about as a result of electronic alterations. For instance, quartz is found in different colors such as black, white, purple, pink, blue or clear. It is observable that completely varying materials may have the similar color. Secondly, lustre is a mineral physical property that varies among the same mineral.
This refers to the amount of light that it reflects from its surface. A mineral may appear differently depending on the quality, intensity or quantity of light that it reflects. The mineral for instance may appear metallic or sub metallic or may appear splendent, shining or dull. Finally, the habit is another varying physical property. It refers to the crystal’s shape of the mineral. The habit is usually shaped by the conditions under which the metal grew.
It is common for a mineral to have many varying habits. The habit of a mineral may be described as the habit of crystals or the habit of crystal aggregates (Ernest, 1995). Conclusion Mineral physical property can be relied on during identification of mineral. However, certain physical properties show a range of characteristics making them less reliable in the identification process. Reference Ernest, Nickel. (1995). Mineral Resources: The Definition and Properties of a Mineral. New York: Hill and Wang.