What are minerals? What are the main characteristics of minerals?

A mineral is an organic substance that is produced by natural processes. They consist of one or more elements. They have a specific chemical composition. All rocks found on the surface of the earth are composed of minerals. Minerals are free gifts of nature.

Characteristics of minerals

Some of the characteristics of minerals are:

They are unevenly distributed over the earth’s surface. They are recognized by their physical and chemical properties.

Most of the minerals are inorganic or abiotic except coal and mineral oil. They are recognized by their physical and chemical properties. They are important constituents in the bodies of human beings, animals and vegetations.

Explain the classification of minerals.

A mineral can be classified into two broad groups:

Metallic Mineral: These minerals have contents of metals. They are lustrous, malleable and conductors of electricity. This can be further divided into:

  • Ferrous: These minerals have iron content. Iron ore, manganese, chromite, etc are an example of ferrous minerals.
  • Non-ferrous: These minerals do not have iron content. Example, Gold, Silver, etc.
  • Non-Metallic mineral: These minerals do not contain metal. Limestone, nitrate, and coal, etc are an example of non-metallic minerals.

Iron is the backbone of modern civilization, Explain.

Iron is hard, strong, durable and malleable to be converted into any form like Thin Sheets or Wire. It is widely used metal in homes, agricultural farms, machines, automobiles trucks, trains, and ships, etc. So, iron is called as the backbone of modern civilization.

What are the different types of coal?

Name them with their carbon contents.

Classification of coal: Coal may be classified into the following:

Anthracite: This is the best quality of coal. Its carbon content is more than 95%. It burns slowly and generated great heat with very little smoke.

Bituminous: This type of coal has a carbon content ranging from 70-90%. It is black in color and has a high heating power. It is widely used in industry and transport.

Lignite or Brown coal: This brown coal has a carbon content of 45-70%. Their moisture content is high. Lignite is also used in the chemical industry and thermal electricity generation.

Peat: It is the lowest grade of coal representing the first stage of formation. It contains less than 45% of carbon. It is normally used as domestic fuel.

What are the different types of iron ore

Iron ore may be classified in the following:

  • Magnetite: This is the richest and the best type of ore containing 72% iron.
  • Haematite: The best haematite carries 65 to 70% of iron.
  • Limonite: It contains about 60% of iron. The color is yellow to brown.
  • Siderite: It contains iron between 40 to 50%.

Name the methods of mining

Methods of mining

  • Open Cast mining
  • Underground mining
  • Alluvial mining

What do you mean by placer mining?

Placer mining means an alluvial deposit of sand with particles of valuable mineral, especially of gold, weathered from rocks and washed down by a stream.

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Which three methods are used for mining? Explain in brief.

The three methods of mining are:

Open Cast Mining: This is the easiest and cheapest way of mining minerals that occurs close to the surface. This involves the removal of the earth of rock bands lying above the mineral-bearing strata. The output is both large and rapid. This method is generally used to extract iron ore and coal

Underground mining: This method is used when the ores lie deep below the surface. Inclined tunnels or vertical shafts have to be sunk to reach minerals seams. From the shafts, underground tunnel radiate to reach the coal or another mineral.

Alluvial mining: When mineral occurs in alluvial deposits they are usually removed by Placer mining methods. This is done by mixing the alluvium with a great deal of water and rotating the gravels until the lighter particles washed off, leaving behind the heavier ores.

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