Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Nicholas Arndt
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_999-3


A mineral is a naturally occurring solid of inorganic origin, with a definite chemical composition and in most cases an ordered atomic arrangement. Compositions range from pure elements like gold (Au), diamond (C), or native copper (Cu) to simple oxides (SiO2quartz; TiO2 – rutile) or carbonates (CaCO3 – calcite) to highly complex silicate minerals (e.g., tectosilicate such as K-bearing feldspar KAlSiO3). The latter dominate most parts of the solid Earth, the exception being the core which is composed mostly of Fe-Ni alloy. Most minerals are crystalline, but some, like chalcedony or opal, are amorphous. Assemblages of different minerals compose a rock.

See Also


Bioorganic Chemistry Silicate Mineral Greenstone Belt Pure Element Atomic Arrangement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maison des GéosciencesLGCA, Université J. FourierSt-Martin d’HèresFrance