What is a Mineral?

A mineral is a homogenous (made of the same material throughout), naturally occurring, inorganic solid with a specific chemical composition. That means that ice is technically a mineral! The element or group of elements (compound) that make up a mineral are arranged in a three-dimensional pattern called a crystal structure. People who study minerals are called Mineralogists, and they, consider a variety of properties to identify minerals. These include the mineral’s chemical, physical, and optical properties.

The chemical composition and microscopic structures of a mineral give it certain physical properties like color, crystal shape, and luster. These physical properties can help identify minerals. When mineralogists discover new minerals, they can name them after a variety of things including the mineral’s chemical composition, a person, or a place.