Notes on Uses of Minerals
What are some of the uses of minerals?
What are gemstones?
What are metals?
What are some other uses of minerals?
How do we get metals from minerals?
Gemstones are valued for their use in making jewelry and for decoration.
· Hard, brilliant color, shiny or glassy luster
· 4 Precious stones are Diamond, Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire-these are the most valuable and rare
· There are many semi-precious stones – amethyst (varieties of quartz), opals, topaz etc.
· Metals are useful because they can easily be molded into useful items such as tools, and machinery.
· They are crystalline when solid opaque, malleable (have the ability to bend and stretch), conductivity, and a unique luster
Minerals can be used in foods, medicines, fertilizers, building materials and many other uses.
We get metals from rocks that
contain them by finding the ores that contain them:
· Prospecting: Land is studied to locate valuable ores – sometimes explosions are set to assist in finding ores.
· Mining: Once the ores are located geologist remove the ores by:
-strip mining- the earth is removed, disturbing fertile soil, depositing chemicals into the earth
-open pit mining-giant pits are dug into the earth and left disturbed
-shaft mines – deep shafts are dug and used to remove ores from narrow veins – dangerous to miners
· Smelting: This process removes the precious metal or mineral from the rock. It is mixed with other chemicals, then melted so the metals will separate.
· After smelting other processes remove impurities
· Some metals are turned into alloys.
· Alloys are a solid mixture of two or more elements and one of them must be a metal. Steel is an example of an alloy, it is a mixture of iron and carbon.