Shop Windows to the Universe

Hands On Mineral Identification helps you to identify over 14,500 minerals! By M. Darby Dyar, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.

Common Silicate Minerals

Mineral Chemical formula Type of rocks that they are commonly found within Picture How People Use Them

Olivine (Mg, Fe)2SiO4 Ultramafic igneous rocks Click for full size A gemstone!
Pyroxene group (Mg, Fe)SiO2 Basaltic igneous rocks (coming soon!) .
Amphibole group (example: hornblende) (Ca2Mg5)Si8O22(OH)2 Andesitic igneous rocks Click for full size .
Micas Biotite:
K(Mg, Fe)3Si3O10(OH)2
Muscovite:
KAl3Si3O10(OH)2
Andesitic igneous rocks Click for full size Colonial Americans used sheets of mica as window glass.
Feldspars Orthoclase: KAlSi3O8
Plagioclase:
(Ca, Na)AlSi3O8
Granitic igneous rocks Click for full size Important for making ceramics and glass
Quartz SiO2 Granitic igneous rocks Click for full size Quartz is the raw material for glass and helps clocks keep time.

* Click on images above for full size.

Last modified April 18, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Fall 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on rocks and minerals, including articles on minerals and mining, the use of minerals in society, and rare earth minerals, and includes 3 posters!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Olivine

The mineral that is green is called olivine! Look for it in igneous and metamorphic rocks. In this picture, olivine is filling a hole in the igneous rock. ...more

Amphibole

This black mineral is called hornblende! It is part of a group of minerals called amphibole. If you see little black specks in your favorite rock, they may be amphibole. They are very common in igneous...more

Mica Minerals

Mica minerals make some rocks sparkle! Look for them in your igneous and metamorphic rocks. Do they make your rocks sparkle? They break into flat plates because they have cleavage. ...more

Feldspar

This is a feldspar mineral! Look for it in igneous rocks where it looks like white or pink crystals. You might find it in other types of rocks as well. ...more

Quartz

This mineral is called quartz! Sometimes it looks white like milk but usually it looks clear like glass, sometimes with a little pink or gray tinge of color. You can find crystals of quartz in many different...more

What Is a Mineral?

Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. There are many different types of minerals. All of them are solid and all are made of atoms of elements. Minerals can grow even though they are not alive. Most...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Pyroxene

Mars Global Surveyor made a measurement of pyroxene on the surface of Mars. Scientists looking at results from the Mars Pathfinder Rover's study of the rocks of Mars could not find evidence of pyroxene...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA