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Minerals are the building blocks of rocks.

A mineral is a naturally occurring chemical that forms crystals.

  • Minerals can be composed of atoms of just one element or atoms of several elements combined together.
  • All crystals of a mineral contain the same arrangement of atoms.
  • All crystals of a specific mineral have the same shape.
  • Different types of crystals have different shapes because of the types of atoms they contain and the way they are arranged.

Find out more about crystals and how they form here.

The 3D image below shows some bright orange crystals of the mineral Wulfenite.
Wulfenite contains atoms of the elements Lead (Pb), Molybdenum (Mo) and Oxygen (O).

The chemical formula for Wulfenite is: PbMoO4 - there are 4 atoms of Oxygen for every atom of Lead and Molybdenum.
Wulfenite is a very pretty mineral but it is not a common mineral and is not one of the common rock-forming minerals.

Rocks are mostly formed from one or a group of minerals.

Find out more about common rock-forming minerals here.

Click on the image and use the mouse to zoom and rotate the model.



Minerals Rock Cycle Igneous Rocks Sedimentary Rocks Metamorphic Rocks  

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A joint TESEP - AusGeol.org production.

This educational product is designed for Yr 7-10 secondary students to complement the earth and space component
of the Australian National Science Curriculum and all Australian State and Territory curricula

The content and design of this educational product is based upon materials previously published by AusGeol.org