Testing Hardness of a Mineral

The hardenss of a mineral is one of the most diagnostic and easy tests to perform in the attempt to indentify an unknown mineral. Hardenss is a measure of a mineral's resistance to abrasion and reflects the atomic structure of a mineral.

Mohs Hardness Scale

Hardness is measured on the Mohs Scale, identified numerically hardness of by standard minerals, from 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest):

  1. Talc
  2. Gypsum
  3. Clacite
  4. Fluorite
  5. Apatite
  6. Orthoclase
  7. Quartz
  8. Topaz
  9. Corundum
  10. Diamond

A mineral of a given hardenss will scratch a mineral of a lower number. With a systematic approach, you can use minerals of known hardness to determine the relative hardness of any other mineral.

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