Terms – Minerals

Term Meaning
proton positively charged subatomic particles contained in the nucleus of an atom
neutron electronically neutral subatomic particles contained in the nucleus of an atom
electron negatively charged particles that orbit the nucleus in shells or energy levels
mineral naturally occuring, solid, inorganic, has a definite chemical composition, has an orderly internal arrangement of atoms
streak color of a mineral's powder
hardness a mineral's resistance to being scratched
luster the way light is reflected from the mineral's surface
cleavage when a mineral breaks with flat sides along planes of weakness
fracture when a mineral breaks irregularly
specific gravity how heavy a mineral is; density compared to water
element a substance that cannot be broken down into smaller substances by ordinary chemical means
native element an element that exists alone in nature (EX: gold – Au)
compound substance consisting of two or more elements chemically combined
atom the smallest part of an element that has all the characteristics of that element