Hey, very new to the event, I had a few identification questions I wanted to clarify here, especially some of the more look-alike type specimens.
Ulexite vs. Satin Spar vs Selenite
Hematite vs. Magnetite
Barite (in general)
Bornite vs. Chalcopyrite
Augite vs Hornblende
Albite (general tips would be appreciated) vs. Orthoclase
Tips for dolomite (in general)
Apatite vs. Beryl vs. Tourmaline vs. Topaz
If anyone has any tips that could help clarify these identification problems, or overall ID event tips, Id really appreciate it.
Here's what I can give you
Ulexite vs. Satin Spar vs Selenite - Hardness to differentiate between gypsum and ulexite, then angle of cleavage to differentiate between Satin Spar and Selenite.
Hematite vs. Magnetite - magnetite is magnetic, but if they don't give you a magnet you better hope for a streak plate or samples that vary in color
Barite (in general) - I haven't really figured this one out either... Barite just does what it wants in terms of appearance. Usually it is partially orange or pinkish?
Bornite vs. Chalcopyrite - Overall color of the parts that aren't sparkly purple/red/yellow/blue
Augite vs Hornblende - Augite is harder than hornblende. If don't have samples to scratch each other, I find that for some reason hornblende will often look more fragile to me.
Albite (general tips would be appreciated) vs. Orthoclase - Albite may have a bluish tint, but celestite may also. Orthoclase is typically more pinkish/light orange
Tips for dolomite (in general) - You just have to hope really hard for a sample with one of the more common dolomite habits. There's one form that if you see something like it, it's probably dolomite, but I've seen it with barite too. Maybe hardness or streak?
Apatite vs. Beryl vs. Tourmaline vs. Topaz - Appearance, crystal shape/structure, striations, hardness, and luster help me.
Overall, do a lot of practice. Does your team have mineral samples to practice with? Or are you learning appearances based off of images? While the images are good for introducing you to a bunch of different forms of the same mineral, there's a lot you can learn by looking at an actual sample. Also, practice a lot. The more you see the minerals, the more familiar they will become.
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