A nonmineral (mineralogy) is a substance found in a natural environment that does not satisfy the definition of a mineral and is not even a mineraloid. Many non-minerals are mined and have industrial or other uses similar to minerals, such as jewelry.


Mineral definition

To be classified as a "true" mineral, a substance must be a solid, arising from geological processes, and having a crystal structure. Traditionally, it must also be an inorganic, naturally occurring, homogeneous substance with a defined chemical composition, but now organically derived substances that have been transformed into a crystalline structure are minerals.

Common Nonminerals

  • Allingite, another name for amber.
  • Amber, organic, non-crystal structure.
  • Anthracite, a variety of coal, "hard coal."
  • Beckerite, another name for amber.
  • Bitumen, a natural mixture of organic molecules forming a viscous liquid.
  • Burmite, another name for amber.
  • Coal, organic, non-homogeneous, and non-crystal structure.
  • Coprolite, fossilized feces, a fossil of organic origin.
  • Coquina, non-homogeneous, non-crystal limestone formed from marine shells and coral.
  • Ebonite, a synthetic material composed of rubber with high sulfur content (same as Vulcanite).
  • Gedanite, another name for amber.
  • Gilsonite, natural asphalt.
  • Glass, non-crystalline substance of varying chemical composition.
  • Glessite, another name for amber.
  • Jet, not considered a true mineral due to organic, non-crystal nature, a mineraloid.
  • Kerogen, a natural organic precursor to petroleum and natural gas.
  • Krantzite, another name for amber.
  • Lignite, a variety of coal, "brown coal."
  • Limonite, amorphous hydrated iron oxide, a mineraloid.
  • Mercury, while a liquid at normal temperatures, but often classed as a mineral [1] [2].
  • Obsidian, usually not considered a mineral due to non-crystal structure.
  • Opal, non-crystal structure, a mineraloid.
  • Pearl, often considered a mineral due to crystal components, but then not a mineral due to organic origin, probably should be a mineraloid.
  • Petroleum, organic and liquid.
  • Rocks, most rocks are mixtures of minerals, but some are composed of just one mineral.
  • Pyrobitumen, organic, nonhomogeneous, non-crystal structure.
  • Stantienite, another name for amber.
  • Saussurite, an aggregate of minerals.
  • Synthetic diamond, not naturally occurring like most other synthetic gems, but difficult to distinguish from naturally occurring forms.
  • Vulcanite, vulcanized natural or synthetic rubber, thus not a mineral due to organic composition, lack of crystal structure, and not naturally occurring.
  • Water, a liquid (but naturally occurring ice is a mineral).

Other considerations

Some minerals, such as the well-known Apatite and Mica, are not homogeneous substances, but are a mixture of related minerals, sometimes referred to as a mineral group.

See also

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