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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.

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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!

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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

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