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A homogeneous, naturally occurring substance which has a definite chemical composition is called a mineral. They can be identified by their physical properties and chemical components. Minerals exist in different types based on their formation. Almost everything we use, from a tiny particle to a huge building or a big ship all, is made up of minerals. Minerals are one of the most valuable resources of the earth. All the stages of human development or progress have been named after them. For example, stone age, copper age, bronze age and Iron Age.
They are exhaustible or non renewable. Besides, they are distributed very unevenly. They are generally found in the form of ores. The ore contains several impurities. Minerals are separated from the ores involving a number of distinct processes.
A country’s economic development is depending on the minerals. There are several types of minerals, but according to their characteristics and commercial use they are classified as shown in above chart.
Minerals are generally found in ‘Ores’. It is actually an accumulation of any mineral mixed with other elements. Minerals generally occur in many forms. They are
1. Veins and lodes
Minerals generally occur in the cracks, crevices, faults and joints of the igneous and metamorphic rocks. Minerals in smaller occurrence are called a ‘Vein’ and a larger occurrence is called a ‘lode, for example, Copper and Gold are found in lodes and veins.
2. Beds or Layers
Minerals that are formed as a result of deposition, accumulation and concentration generally occur in horizontal layers. E.g. Coal, Potash, etc.
Residual mass of weathered particles When the decomposed rocks are washed away by water, the soluble particles are removed, leaving a mass containing ores. Such occurrences are called residual mass. E.g. Bauxite
3. Alluvial deposits
These are the deposits found in the sands of valley floor and at the foot hills. These deposits consist of the minerals such as Gold, Silver and Platinum.
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