1. n. [Geology]
A crystalline substance that is naturally occurring, inorganic, and has a unique or limited range of chemical compositions. Minerals are homogeneous, having a definite atomic structure. Rocks are composed of minerals, except for rare exceptions like coal, which is a rock but not a mineral because of its organic origin. Minerals are distinguished from one another by careful observation or measurement of physical properties such as density, crystal form, cleavage (tendency to break along specific surfaces because of atomic structure), fracture (appearance of broken surfaces), hardness, luster and color. Magnetism, taste and smell are useful ways to identify only a few minerals.
See: anhydrite, barite, bentonite, coal, density, dolomite, dolomitization, evaporite, felsic, geochemistry, hydrate, hydrate, hydrothermal, hydrothermal alteration, mafic, mica, montmorillonite, quartz, rhombohedral packing, rock, sediment, silicate mineral, smectite, vug