A mineraloid is a substance that is very similar to a mineral, but it does not demonstrate crystallinity. Its chemical compositions vary when compared to specific minerals that have specific acceptable ranges. A mineraloid may look like an actual mineral on the outside but on the inside, it lacks the ordered chemical structure to be considered a mineral. To further understand the considerations of regarding a certain material to be a mineral, it must meet the following five requirements:
- It occurs or develops naturally;
- It is not organic;
- It is solid;
- It has an ordered structure; and
- It has a definite chemical composition.
To further distinguish a mineral from a mineraloid, a mineral is crystalline in form, which means that it has an ordered atomic structure. In contrast, a mineraloid is amorphous in form, thus having an unorganized atomic structure and can never form crystals in any given state.
Here are some of the examples of mineraloids their features:
- Opal – It is an amorphous hydrated silica that has an “n” in its chemical formula. This means the amount of water present in it varies and can never be structured or fixed.
- Obsidian – It is an igneous rock that solidifies quickly after melting, which makes its atoms barely able to move and therefore not able to form a structured atomic structure.
- Pearl – Though considered by some as a mineral, it would be best to consider it as a mineraloid as its crystals are joined through an organic material, and its components do not have a definite proportion.
- Tektite – A type of a natural glass that is formed by way of impact of an asteroid. As an asteroid comes to Earth so rapidly, any material being impacted by it will rapidly melt. At the same time, the molten material’s temperature will then rapidly melt and solidify without forming crystals.
- Water – An inorganic natural substance that has a structured chemical composition. However, it is not solid on its normal state, and even crystallizes when subjected to zero degree temperature. These properties make it a mineraloid
- Amber – It is a fossil plant resin that is found mostly in sedimentary rocks all over the world. It is often cut as a gemstone because of its hard, brittle nature. It does look like a mineral but it actually does not have an ordered internal structure.
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