Earth Science Laboratory
EAS 100-51 : Lab 1

Objective: To be able to identify minerals by collecting physical and chemical properties.


1. Why is the color of a mineral not a reliable method of identification?

2. Why is the streak more reliable for mineral identification?

3. What is a diagnostic property and why is it useful for mineral identification?

4. Can most minerals be identified by just a single physical property?

5. Why should the hardness test always be performed beginning from the "soft" end?

6. What happens when two substances of similar hardness are ground together?

7. Why is the acid reaction test of limited value?

Introduction to Mineral Identification
You will be introduced to the definitions and descriptions of various physical properties measured in minerals, including: hardness, color, streak, luster, cleavage, acid reaction, specific gravity, etc., and you will see a demonstration on how to use simple laboratory equipment to perform these tests. You will be assigned a set of 5 different mineral specimens. Using the test equipment and the correct technique, test for each of the physical characteristics in all 5 specimens, and fill in each data column in the table below. (Tip: Fill out the table vertically in columns, not across in rows - this way, you will practice your laboratory technique for each type of test.) After you have listed the properties, consult the mineral identification tables booklet and identify each mineral. Check with your instructor when you have finished.
(if present)
Acid Rx
Other Properties
Mineral Name