Rocks and Minerals B/C

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havendude
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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby havendude » July 16th, 2012, 10:46 am

eox wrote:how would you guys suggest studying for the rock and mineral ID portion of the test?


Tuftedtitmouse12 is right, it will be really helpful if you get your own box(es) of specimens. I would also suggest going to the Scioly rocks ID discussion and going through that several times.
The most important thing (I think) is to use pneumonic devices on the rocks. When I just started learning them, I took a rock, found something unique about it, and then made a stupid name of it. The stupider the better, because you can remember it better. For instances, with Aragonite, I found that in most samples it was very milky white. Therefore:
Aragonite==>sounds like==>Aragorn
Aragorn==>was in LOTR and got the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Men_of_Dunharrow on his side
Dead Men of Dunharrow==>have the same skin coloration as==>Aragonite

Stupid, I know. But I can always recognize Aragonite because of that order.

I made sequences like that with almost every rock and mineral on the list (except for the really obvious ones), in a relatively short time.
---Regionals---States---Nats

Rocks and Minerals---2nd---15th---11th
Disease Detectives---1st---3rd---27th
Optics---1st---NA---NA
Crime Busters---2nd---NA---NA
Compute This---NA---32---15th

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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby eox » July 16th, 2012, 1:59 pm

tuftedtitmouse12 wrote:Google images.

But what I like to do is try to find a distinguishing characteristic for each mineral or rock, but that's not always easy. I would be really helpful if you could get your hands on some real specimens :)


if i were to get real specimens, what should i do with them besides get familiar with their heft / certain features?

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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby tuftedtitmouse12 » July 16th, 2012, 4:44 pm

eox wrote:
tuftedtitmouse12 wrote:Google images.

But what I like to do is try to find a distinguishing characteristic for each mineral or rock, but that's not always easy. I would be really helpful if you could get your hands on some real specimens :)


if i were to get real specimens, what should i do with them besides get familiar with their heft / certain features?

You can see their features up close. You see, pictures can only show you so much. Then can only go into their macro setting so much and you can only see some details. Once you know how a true specimen feels and looks up close, it will be much easier to point them out in a picture. Besides, when you look at a picture, you only see one side of the specimen. With a 3D object, you can turn it over and thoroughly examine it. Especially for minerals, crystal structure and all those traits are easiest learned not from reading, but from actually seeing it and feeling it.


Basically, specimens are the real thing. If you can get specimens, it's no big deal to get pictures (Google images) and you'll be more prepared for competition, where you may get either specimens, pictures, or both.

Edit: Just out of curiosity, but have you done this event before?
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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby eox » July 16th, 2012, 6:38 pm

havendude wrote:
eox wrote:how would you guys suggest studying for the rock and mineral ID portion of the test?


I would also suggest going to the Scioly rocks ID discussion and going through that several times.

Is it a seperate subform? Thanks for the mnemonic device idea, too! its really helpful!
EDIT: Do you mean Rocks and Minerals Question Marathon? (http://scioly.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=121&t=3036)

tuftedtitmouse12 wrote:You can see their features up close. You see, pictures can only show you so much. Then can only go into their macro setting so much and you can only see some details. Once you know how a true specimen feels and looks up close, it will be much easier to point them out in a picture. Besides, when you look at a picture, you only see one side of the specimen. With a 3D object, you can turn it over and thoroughly examine it. Especially for minerals, crystal structure and all those traits are easiest learned not from reading, but from actually seeing it and feeling it.
Edit: Just out of curiosity, but have you done this event before?

No i haven't, its my first year :oops:
What about the variations on color / habit of a rock though? Would you have to get multiple samples for each variant, or is just one sufficient.
What traits do you guys normally use for ID?

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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby tuftedtitmouse12 » July 17th, 2012, 12:46 pm

Oh yes, the marathon. If I were you, read through them, and see if you can try doing some yourself!

Color is really not your best bet, especially for minerals. There, I like to use crystal structure and the texture, luster, stuff like that. That's really why having actual specimens in your hands help. Then you get the whole feel of the mineral. For rocks, the color is a bit more reliable. For instance, gabbro looks like speckles of green and black while diorite is salt and pepper. Then there's granite, which is usually white, clear, and black, those three being the base colors. The white being feldspar, clear quartz, and black mica.

Basically, examine the specimens, try to connect the name to the mineral or rock, NEVER the shape or size of your specimen, and once you've spent enough time, you'll start to see the differences. It helps if you can hold two specimens that look alike and compare them to each other.

The specimens are to get the general idea. There's always pictures on google if you needed to find the color variants and such. I hope this helps!
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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby havendude » July 19th, 2012, 5:33 am

What about the variations on color / habit of a rock though? Would you have to get multiple samples for each variant, or is just one sufficient.
What traits do you guys normally use for ID?


You only really need one sample of a rock, but it always helps to have more. If you only have one sample, you will just have to research the rock on google. Wikipedia is also really helpful, because they usually have articles that outline every variation. Plus, the rocks that you will get grilled on the most (fluorite, calcite, etc.) generally have long articles, because they're complicated or very common.

For ID, I use crystal structure the most, followed by texture, and then density. It also helps to know what shades of colors they are (dark vs. light), and their translucency. Some you can tell automatically just from one or two traits. Galena (the heaviest for its size,) for instance, or graphite (rubs off on your skin).

On the side, I think next year they might be introducing the history of geologic discovery to the possible topics. The nationals test had some questions about Mohs that I think most people weren't expecting. We had the answer in our field guide, but that doesn't always happen. I wouldn't count on it, but if you have some extra time, go Wikipedia hopping and get a paragraph or so on the major discoveries and geologists.
---Regionals---States---Nats

Rocks and Minerals---2nd---15th---11th
Disease Detectives---1st---3rd---27th
Optics---1st---NA---NA
Crime Busters---2nd---NA---NA
Compute This---NA---32---15th

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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby hotchocolate123 » August 18th, 2012, 11:06 am

Hey, anybody know the "official" chemical formula for the mineral apatite? There are so many different varieties of the chemical formula i don't even know which one is "real".... :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:
2014 Nationals:
Heredity (5th) Water Quality (7th)
2013 Nationals:
Forestry (4) Heredity (9) Rocks & Minerals (5)
2012 Nationals:
Forestry (3) Rocks & minerals (7) Aquifers (13)

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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby Paleofreakazoid » August 18th, 2012, 1:15 pm

hotchocolate123 wrote:Hey, anybody know the "official" chemical formula for the mineral apatite? There are so many different varieties of the chemical formula i don't even know which one is "real".... :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:


I think Apatite is a mineral group, so its individual members will have different formulas (e.g. fluorapatite and chlorapatite). What kinds of formulas are you finding?
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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby aim4me26 » August 19th, 2012, 10:44 am

Paleofreakazoid wrote:
hotchocolate123 wrote:Hey, anybody know the "official" chemical formula for the mineral apatite? There are so many different varieties of the chemical formula i don't even know which one is "real".... :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:


I think Apatite is a mineral group, so its individual members will have different formulas (e.g. fluorapatite and chlorapatite). What kinds of formulas are you finding?

^That's right. I think that there are only individual formulas; I don't know about the group as a whole though.
For example, (CaF) or Flourapatite is Ca5(PO4)3F, while (CaCl) or Chlorapatite is Ca5(PO4)3Cl.
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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby hotchocolate123 » August 20th, 2012, 1:17 pm

aim4me26 wrote:
Paleofreakazoid wrote:
hotchocolate123 wrote:Hey, anybody know the "official" chemical formula for the mineral apatite? There are so many different varieties of the chemical formula i don't even know which one is "real".... :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:


I think Apatite is a mineral group, so its individual members will have different formulas (e.g. fluorapatite and chlorapatite). What kinds of formulas are you finding?

^That's right. I think that there are only individual formulas; I don't know about the group as a whole though.
For example, (CaF) or Flourapatite is Ca5(PO4)3F, while (CaCl) or Chlorapatite is Ca5(PO4)3Cl.


Ohh.... thanks, but like I've been using the one on the Audubon field guide which is like the group formula --> [Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH)] then there's one on wikipedia that says the group is Ca10(PO4)6(OH,F,Cl,Br)2 and then when you purchase the science olympiad rock kit it comes with like a mini field guide which then says that the mineral apatite is Ca5(Cl,F)(PO4)3 ... I am sticking to the Audubon because it's an "official" published resource, and then most teachers tell you to NEVER use wikipedia... so... :)
2014 Nationals:
Heredity (5th) Water Quality (7th)
2013 Nationals:
Forestry (4) Heredity (9) Rocks & Minerals (5)
2012 Nationals:
Forestry (3) Rocks & minerals (7) Aquifers (13)

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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby Paleofreakazoid » August 20th, 2012, 5:45 pm

hotchocolate123 wrote:Ohh.... thanks, but like I've been using the one on the Audubon field guide which is like the group formula --> [Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH)] then there's one on wikipedia that says the group is Ca10(PO4)6(OH,F,Cl,Br)2 and then when you purchase the science olympiad rock kit it comes with like a mini field guide which then says that the mineral apatite is Ca5(Cl,F)(PO4)3 ... I am sticking to the Audubon because it's an "official" published resource, and then most teachers tell you to NEVER use wikipedia... so... :)

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm still new to this kinda. I think the Audubon formula is the empirical formula; it is simplified, if you notice on your wikipedia formula, you can simplify all the subscripts; they are divisible by two. It also includes Bromine, which I think is a rare form of Apatite that is often omitted. Also, on wikipedia they have the Audubon formula on the side bar. The mini field guide just has the elements switched around. I don't have enough chemistry knowledge to tell you about the rules on that, since there are like, more than two ions or something, but essentially all the formulas have the same constituents. I think it is smart to go with the Audubon one, although somewhere in your notes you can include that Bromine can also be in there. Again, don't take me word for word, my science knowledge is limited and unspecialized...
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Re: Rocks and Minerals B/C

Postby hotchocolate123 » August 21st, 2012, 2:21 pm

Paleofreakazoid wrote:
hotchocolate123 wrote:Ohh.... thanks, but like I've been using the one on the Audubon field guide which is like the group formula --> [Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH)] then there's one on wikipedia that says the group is Ca10(PO4)6(OH,F,Cl,Br)2 and then when you purchase the science olympiad rock kit it comes with like a mini field guide which then says that the mineral apatite is Ca5(Cl,F)(PO4)3 ... I am sticking to the Audubon because it's an "official" published resource, and then most teachers tell you to NEVER use wikipedia... so... :)

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm still new to this kinda. I think the Audubon formula is the empirical formula; it is simplified, if you notice on your wikipedia formula, you can simplify all the subscripts; they are divisible by two. It also includes Bromine, which I think is a rare form of Apatite that is often omitted. Also, on wikipedia they have the Audubon formula on the side bar. The mini field guide just has the elements switched around. I don't have enough chemistry knowledge to tell you about the rules on that, since there are like, more than two ions or something, but essentially all the formulas have the same constituents. I think it is smart to go with the Audubon one, although somewhere in your notes you can include that Bromine can also be in there. Again, don't take me word for word, my science knowledge is limited and unspecialized...


Wow!! Thanks! It's awesome you know so much about chemistry ! Meanwhile.... idk anything about chemistry :( ... But thanks so much! I noticed that it also happens alot with other minerals...sigh.. I have forgotten quite alot over the summer... :cry: Back to work I guess :D
2014 Nationals:
Heredity (5th) Water Quality (7th)
2013 Nationals:
Forestry (4) Heredity (9) Rocks & Minerals (5)
2012 Nationals:
Forestry (3) Rocks & minerals (7) Aquifers (13)


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