Hardness (H) is the resistance that a mineral come scratching. The is a property through which minerals might be explained relative come a standard scale of 10 minerals well-known as the Mohs range of hardness. The level of hardness is identified by observing the comparative ease or challenge with i beg your pardon one mineral is scratched by one more or by a stole tool. Because that measuring the hardness of a mineral, several common objects that can be offered for scratching room helpful, such together a fingernail, a copper coin, a steel pocketknife, glass bowl or window glass, the stole of a needle, and also a streak bowl (an unglazed black color or white porcelain surface).

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Because over there is a general link between hardness and chemical composition, this generalizations deserve to be made:

1. Most hydrous minerals are reasonably soft (H

2. Halides, carbonates, sulfates, and phosphates likewise are relatively soft (H

3. Many sulfides are reasonably soft (H marcasite and also pyrite being examples of exception (H

4. Many anhydrous oxides and also silicates are tough (H > 5.5).

Because hardness is a highly diagnostic residential property in mineral identification, most determinative tables use relative hardness as a sorting parameter.


Several mineral nature that depend on the cohesive force between atoms (and ions) in mineral structures space grouped under tenacity. A mineral’s tenacity have the right to be explained by the following terms: malleable, qualified of gift flattened under the blows of a hammer right into thin sheets there is no breaking or wrong into fragments (most that the native elements show various levels of malleability, but specifically gold, silver, and copper); sectile, capable of being severed through the smooth reduced of a knife (copper, silver, and gold room sectile); ductile, capable of being drawn into the form of a cable (gold, silver, and also copper exhibit this property); flexible, bending easily and also staying bend after the push is eliminated (talc is flexible); brittle, showing small or no resistance come breakage, and as together separating into fragments under the blow of a hammer or when reduced by a knife (most silicate minerals space brittle); and elastic, capable of being bent or pulled out of shape yet returning come the original type when relieved (mica is elastic).


Solubility in hydrochloric acid

The optimistic identification of lead carbonate minerals is aided greatly by the truth that the carbon-oxygen shortcut of the CO3 group in carbonates becomes unstable and also breaks under in the presence of hydrogen ion (H+) obtainable in acids. This is expressed by the reaction 2H+ + CO2−/3→ H2O + CO2, which is the basis for the so-called fizz test with dilute hydrochloric acid (HCl). Calcite, aragonite, witherite, and also strontianite, and also copper carbonates, show bubbling, or effervescence, when a autumn of dilute hydrochloric acid is put on the mineral. This “fizz” is as result of the release of carbon dioxide (CO2). Other carbonates such as dolomite, rhodochrosite, magnesite, and siderite will show slow effervescence when acid is applied to powdered mineral or middle effervescence just in warm hydrochloric acid.

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Minerals comprise uranium (U) and thorium (Th) continuous undergo decay reactions in i m sorry radioactive isotope of uranium and thorium type various daughter elements and likewise release power in the type of alpha and also beta particles and gamma radiation. The radiation created can be measured in the laboratory or in the ar using a Geiger respond to or a scintillation counter. A radiation counter therefore is useful in identify uranium- and thorium-containing minerals, such as uraninite, pitchblende, thorianite, and also autunite. Several rock-forming minerals contain enough radioactive facets to allow the decision of the moment elapsed because the radioactive product was included into the mineral (see also dating: principles of isotopic dating).