Halite (rock salt) mineral
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe/L.Gardiner
Find out how to identify minerals (...and learn what shape, luster, color, streak, hardness, cleavage and fracture are all about!)
Meet some other nonsilicate minerals!
Whatís that on your chips? Itís a mineral called halite! If you look closely at ordinary table salt, you will see that, just like other minerals, it looks like crystals. Halite is salt. In its natural form, itís called rock salt.
Halite is found in sedimentary rocks. It is called an evaporite mineral because it formed in ancient seas and salt lakes as they slowly evaporated millions of years ago. As the water evaporated, thick deposits of salt were left behind. This process still goes on today. In fact, one way to get the halite used for table salt and road salt is to extract it from seawater by evaporating the water.
The sure way to determine if a mineral is halite is to taste it. However, donít stick an unknown mineral sample in your mouth just in case it is poisonous. Instead, lick a finger and rub it against the mineral specimen that you think is halite. Then taste your finger so you donít get too much of the mineral into your mouth.
- Shape: Isometric (crystals usually look like cubes)
- Luster: Glassy
- Color: Clear, white, pinkish, or gray
- Streak: White
- Hardness: 2.5 on Mohs Hardness Scale
- Cleavage: 3 planes of perfect cleavage
- Fracture: Conchoidal
Last modified April 15, 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!
You might also be interested in:
Like other types of sedimentary rocks, chemical rocks form at the Earthís surface, are usually found in horizontal layers, and do not form from molten rock. However, unlike most other sedimentary rocks,...more
The first of two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) landed within Gusev Crater on Mars on January 3, 2004. The robotic rover, named Spirit, bounced to a halt within an 81 km by 12 km (50 by 7 miles) target...more
Gusev Crater is an impact crater on Mars that looks as though a lake may have once filled it in the distant past. One of the two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) will explore Gusev Crater beginning in January...more
Each type of mineral is made of a unique group of elements that are arranged in a unique pattern. However, to identify minerals you donít need to look at the elements with sophisticated chemical tests....more
Quartz is the second most common mineral in Earthís crust. It is a member of the quartz group, which includes less common minerals such as opal, crystobalite, and coesite. Silica (Si) and Oxygen (O) are...more
Mica minerals make some rocks sparkle! They are often found in igneous rocks such as granite and metamorphic rocks such as schist. They sparkle because light is reflected on their flat surfaces, which...more
Feldspar is the most common mineral in the Earthís crust, so you are very likely to find it in the rocks you collect! It is found it all of the three rock types, but is most common in intrusive igneous...more