Mineral

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A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance that is formed through geological processes and that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not have a specific chemical composition. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms.[1] The study of minerals is called mineralogy.

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Mineral definition and classification

To be classified as a true mineral, a substance must be a solid and have a crystalline structure. It must also be a naturally occurring, homogeneous substance with a defined chemical composition. Traditional definitions excluded organically derived material. However, the International Mineralogical Association in 1995 adopted a new definition:

The modern classifications include an organic class – in both the new Dana and the Strunz classification schemes.[3][4]

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