Mineral Review

What are the most common minerals?

The main rock-forming minerals of igneous rocks are: quartz (and its varieties); feldspars; iron-magnesium silicates. All these minerals differ from each other in properties, therefore the predominance of certain minerals in the rock changes its construction properties, such as: strength properties, durability, viscosity properties and adaptability to processing (molding, grinding, etc.). Quartz, composed of silicon dioxide in crystalline form, is one of the strongest and most resistant minerals. It has: exceptionally high compressive strength (up to 2000 MPa) and tensile strength indicators that are significant for brittle materials (about 100 MPa); high hardness, second only to the hardness of topaz, corundum and diamond; very high acid resistance and generally chemical resistance at ordinary temperatures; among acids, it is affected by hydrofluoric acid and hot phosphoric acid; caustic and carbonic alkalis react with quartz at elevated temperatures; high fire resistance – melts at a temperature of 1700 °C. The most common color of quartz is milky white or gray. Due to its high strength and chemical resistance, quartz remains almost unchanged during the weathering of igneous rocks in which it may be included (for example, during the destruction of granites). Therefore, it is also one of the most important minerals in sedimentary rocks (sandstones and quartz sands). Полевые шпаты – these are the most common minerals in igneous rocks (up to 2/3 of the total mass of the rock). They are light components of rocks (white, pinkish, red, etc.). The main varieties of feldspars are orthoclase and plagioclase. Compared to quartz, feldspars have significantly lower compressive strength (120-170 MPa) and resistance, so they are less common in sedimentary rocks (mainly in the form of feldspathic sands). Weathering of feldspars occurs under the influence of water containing carbon dioxide. The result of weathering is a new mineral – kaolinite (the most important part of the most common sedimentary rock – clay). Colored (or dark-colored) minerals commonly found in igneous rocks include ferromagnesian and magnesian silicates and some aluminosilicates. In a group ferruginous-magnesian The most common silicates are olivine, pyroxenes (for example, augite), and amphiboles (hornblende). Among magnesium silicates there are secondary minerals, most often replacing olivine – serpentine, chrysotile – asbestos. Among aluminosilicates The most common micas are: ordinary – muscovite (almost colorless), phlogopite and biotite (dark color); hydromicas – hydromuscovite, hydrobiotite. – You can learn in detail about all the work performed as part of the research and examination in the section: “Research of structures and materials. Examination of parts, products, assemblies, elements, etc.” All of the above minerals, with the exception of muscovite and hydromuscovite, differ from quartz and feldspars in their dark color (green, dark green, sometimes black). Common properties of non-ferrous minerals (with the exception of micas) are high strength and toughness, as well as increased density compared to other minerals that are part of igneous rocks. An increase in the content of non-ferrous minerals (with the exception of aluminosilicates) gives the rocks high strength, toughness and resistance to weathering. Hydrous aluminosilicates (micas) are an undesirable component of rocks. They reduce the strength of rocks, accelerate their weathering and make grinding and polishing difficult, since due to the layered structure of mica, they are very easily separated into thin plates. Micas are also found in sands, where they are also considered a harmful impurity. Concretes and mortars based on sand with a significant mica content have reduced frost resistance. For specialized finishing plaster compositions, mica is purposefully added to the solutions to achieve a certain artistic effect. Authors: editorial by TekhStroyEkspertiza As noted in previous articles, there are currently almost 6000 minerals known to be found on our planet and within visible space. It is clear that this impressive list contains both extremely rare and very common substances that are found literally at every step. Of course, not in its pure form, but in the composition of various solid compounds, most often in rocks. As a rule, rocks are a mixture of minerals that, due to natural disasters and as a result of exposure to temperature, pressure and other external factors, mixed, hardened, stood the test of time and acquired new properties. Most of the rocks known on our planet basically have the same mineral components (in different proportions) or a predominant mineral. These minerals, which predominate in rocks, are called rock-forming minerals. It is rock-forming minerals that are the most common minerals on Earth, since the crust of our planet is composed mainly of rocks. Rocks, as is known, are classified into three main groups: igneous (igneous), sedimentary and metamorphic (modified by time and external factors). Each group of rocks is characterized by the predominance of one or another mineral in its composition. Thus, magmatic rocks are characterized by feldspars, quartz, mica and other minerals. For sedimentary rocks – calcite, clay, dolomite. For metamorphic rocks – quartz, feldspars, pyroxenes, micas.
Of course, all rocks contain not only rock-forming minerals, because a rock is a mixture of such substances. However, the minerals indicated above are present in almost all rocks that form the earth’s crust and form their basis. If you evaluate the content of rock-forming minerals in the earth’s crust, you can get a list of the most common ones, due to the presence in the vast majority of rocks.

The most common minerals

The most common rock-forming minerals include silicates (feldspars, plagioclases, nepheline, hornblende, augite, micas), oxides (quartz, hematite, limonite), carbonates (calcite, magnesite, dolomite), sulfates (gypsum, anhydrite, barite) and sulfides (pyrite, cinnabar). It is these minerals, depending on the percentage, that give rocks certain physical properties.
Among the listed rock-forming groups of minerals, the most common are silicates, which make up up to 75% of the earth’s crust.
Other minerals are present in rocks in small quantities, having little effect on the properties of these rocks. The chemical elements that form the basis of the internal structure of rock-forming minerals are called petrogenic. Petrogenic chemical elements include silicon (Si), aluminum (Al), potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), carbon (C), chlorine (Cl), fluorine (F), sulfur (S), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H). The list of the most commonly found minerals (or groups of minerals) in the earth’s crust can be presented as follows:

  • Quartz (if we take into account the inclusion of quartz in the composition of other minerals, the mass fraction of quartz in the earth’s crust is more than 60%; in its pure form, the share of quartz is up to 12% of the mass of the earth’s crust)
  • Полевые шпаты (mass fraction of feldspars in the earth’s crust – up to 50%, together with quartz – up to 85%)
  • Amphiboles (including hornblende, varieties of which are found in many mineral groups. Hornblende is not currently considered a mineral.)
  • Pyroxenes
  • Biotite
  • Olivine
  • Magnetite
  • Apatite

It is difficult to indicate the percentage content of certain groups of minerals in the total mass of the earth’s crust, since they often form mixed mineral compounds. But the predominance of silicon compounds (silicates) in the composition of the upper layers of the Earth is obvious.

In the recent past, one of the most common minerals in the earth’s crust was considered hornblende. Currently, following a revision of the mineral catalog by the IMA Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC), formed in 2006, hornblende has been discredited and is not considered a mineral as such.

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