Does scratching a mineral tell you what type of mineral it is?



  1. 0 Votes

    Not completely, but it can help you identify the mineral, through use of the Mohs hardness scale.

    The Mohs scale ranks all minerals from 1-10. Quartz, for example, has a hardness of 7. An average human fingernail has a hardness between 2.2 and 2,5, and a penny has a hardness of approximately 3.5. Therefore, if you scratch a mineral with your fingernail and the mineral won’t scratch, but your fingernail gets worn down in the process, then the mineral’s hardness is higher than 2.5, which rules out, for example, talc and gypsum.

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