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How are minerals formed?

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Quick Answer

Minerals are formed under a variety of conditions, including when molten materials cool, when liquids evaporate or cool and under high temperatures and pressures. Minerals are found in the earth's crust and mantle, and many were created when feldspar and quartz reacted with other materials during the formation of the planet.

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How are minerals formed?
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Igneous rocks come from magma underneath the surface of the earth. This magma is mostly silicon and contains other elements, such as oxygen, aluminum, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron and magnesium. When magma cools, these rocks harden after water and carbon dioxide are removed from the minerals.

Some sedimentary rocks form after seawater evaporates. Sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt, and calcium sulfate, or gypsum, are two common minerals created after seawater evaporates due to warming by the sun. These minerals are often found in dry, arid places where evaporation temperatures are high.

Diamonds form after coal is superheated and put under intense pressure. Diamonds are created as low as 100 miles below Earth's surface in the mantle. Kimberlites and olivine also form in the mantle and are thrust closer to the surface due to tectonic processes. Other metamorphic rocks and minerals change into gemstones under high heat and pressure, such as jade, emeralds, opal and tourmaline.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where do minerals come from?

    A:

    Minerals come from the Earth’s crust, and they are found in various places throughout the world. Geological processes, such as metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous processes, are responsible for the concentration of minerals. Mineral deposits form into different shapes and sizes depending on the location and process of concentration.

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  • Q:

    What minerals are in marble?

    A:

    The mineral content of marble is primarily calcite, as well as smaller quantities of quartz, mica and pyrite. Trace minerals of clay or iron oxides in the marble may affect the color of the rock.

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  • Q:

    How are rocks different from minerals?

    A:

    Rocks are different from minerals in that minerals are single crystalline accumulations of one or more elements, while rocks are solid accumulations of one or more minerals. Rock can either refer to a particular, detached object or, in a general sense, as a synonym for stone, generally referring to a portion of the substance. Individual minerals can be obvious in rocks, as with granite, or microscopic, as with many basalts.

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  • Q:

    How are minerals classified?

    A:

    Minerals are most commonly classified by the Dana system. Minerals are identified according to hardness, specific gravity, color, luster, streak, cleavage and crystal form.

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