ESC 1000L Space Science Video Notes Name: ____________


Earth Revealed #12: Minerals: The Materials of Earth

Please watch the video in class. Take notes on the Earth Revealed Disc #12 disk: Minerals Materials of the Earth. Please circle each of the Chapter 2 vocabulary words discussed in the video. When the film is finished and after reading Chapter 2:Minerals Building Blocks of Rocks finished, write questions with answers that a student should be able to answer if she/he viewed this video. You should have at least two or more questions for each chapter. List the most significant discovery you made about Minerals which you did not know before watch the film.

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Chapter 2: Minerals Building Blocks of Rocks Summary:

The following statements summarize and describe many of the key terms and concepts presented in the chapter.

    A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic solid possessing a definite chemical structure that gives it a unique set of physical properties. Most rocks are aggregates composed of two or more minerals.

    The building blocks of minerals are elements. An atom is the smallest particle of matter that still retains the characteristics of an element. Each atom has a nucleus containing protons and neutrons. Orbiting the nucleus of an atom are electrons. The number of protons in an atom's nucleus determines its atomic number and the name of the element. Atoms bond together to form a compound by either gaining, losing, or sharing electrons with another atom.

    Isotopes are variants of the same element but with a different mass number (the total number of neutrons plus protons found in an atom's nucleus). Some isotopes are unstable and disintegrate naturally through a process called radioactive decay.

    The properties of minerals include crystal form, luster, color, streak, hardness, cleavage, fracture, and specific gravity. In addition, a number of special physical and chemical properties (taste, smell, elasticity, malleability, feel, magnetism, double refraction, and chemical reaction to hydrochloric acid) are useful in identifying certain minerals. Each mineral has a unique set of properties that can be used for identification.

    The eight most abundant elements found in Earth's continental crust (oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) also make up the majority of minerals.

    The most common mineral group is the silicates. All silicate minerals have the silicon-oxygen tetrahedron as their fundamental building block. In some silicate minerals the tetrahedra are joined in chains; in others the tetrahedra are arranged into sheets, or three-dimensional networks. Each silicate mineral has a structure and a chemical composition that indicates the conditions under which it was formed.

    The nonsilicate mineral groups include the oxides (e.g., magnetite, mined for iron), sulfides (e.g., sphalerite, mined for zinc), sulfates (e.g., gypsum, used in plaster and frequently found in sedimentary rocks), native elements (e.g., graphite, a dry lubricant), halides (e.g., halite, common salt and frequently found in sedimentary rocks), and carbonates (e.g., calcite, used in portland cement and is a major constituent in two well-known rocks: limestone and marble).

    The term ore is used to denote useful metallic minerals, like hematite (mined for iron) and galena (mined for lead), that can be mined for a profit, as well as some nonmetallic minerals, such as fluorite and sulfur, that contain useful substances.

Earth Revealed #12: Minerals: The Materials of Earth (1992)

: Minerals: The Materials of the Earth covers the origins, classifications and uses of minerals.

Minerals have been indispensable to human civilization. This program looks at the variety of minerals, their atomic and crystalline structures, and their physical properties such as hardness and luster. Petrologists methods of sectioning rocks are shown, and gems, precious metals, ore excavation, and the value of silicates are discussed.

Play Video:


Video Notes:


Chapter 2: Minerals: Building Blocks of Rocks Word List




Periodic table

Atomic Number


Principal shell


Ionic bond







Radioactive decay


Mass number


Covalent bond



Crystal form


Rock-forming minerals


Mineral resource



Mohs hardness scale

Silicon-oxygen tetrahedron

Energy levels














Valence electrons


Video Notes continued:





















Student Questions (with Answers):








Most Significant Discovery (discoveries):




Video Study Guide: Earth Revealed

Episode 12: Minerals

There are five characteristics that are required for a substance to be considered a mineral. Describe them.







Specific chemical (elemental) composition:


Regular internal crystalline structure:


What are rocks?


How are minerals like fossils?


What are some of the common rock forming minerals?


How can the growth of a mineral be compared to the construction of a block wall?


Why is quartz harder than steel?


What is cleavage?


How does the cleavage of feldspar differ from the cleavage of mica?


What is one easy way to distinguish calcite from quartz?


What happens when you drop acid on a carbonate mineral (or rock)?


How deep in the crust were the granitic rocks of the Whipple Mountains formed?


Discuss diamonds and graphite. What makes them so different?


Discuss hydrothermal solutions and the precipitation of metallic minerals.


What is the origin of most hydrothermal solutions?


Discuss the formation of ore minerals.


Discuss the importance of the silicate minerals (this is very important)