Color photographs and movies illustrate and demonstrate mineral identification. What better way to understand "metallic luster" or "pleochroism" than to see color photographs of minerals that exhibit these characteristics. This "Made for iBooks" chapter uses the power of digital media to visualize mineral identification and make it easy to understand.
Who cares about mineral identification? Is this some obscure hobby practiced by enthusiastic retirees? Why is this so important? It all comes down to this: hand sample mineral identification is the first tool used by geologists in any kind of field setting; if you can’t identify minerals, you'll never understand the rocks they constitute.
So before we plunge into the nitty gritty of what makes minerals tick, and the advanced methods that may be required to identify an unknown, it seems appropriate to begin with what almost everyone wants to know right away: what can I learn from a hands-on encounter with a mineral?
Topics covered in Chapter 2 include:
Color and streak
Fracture and tenacity
Crystal form and system
Crystal shape and habit
Cleavage and parting
Specific gravity (density)
Other properties, such as taste, radioactivity, and magnetism.