Atoms and Minerals

Practice exam questions written by Timothy H. Heaton,
Professor of Earth Sciences, University of South Dakota

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  1. Which of the following is a required characteristic of minerals?
    Inorganic solid.
    Naturally formed.
    Distinct chemical formula.
    Ordered arrangement of atoms.
    All of the above.

  2. What determines the element that an atom belongs to?
    The number of electrons.
    The number of neutrons.
    The number of protons.
    The number of shells or orbitals.
    All of the above.

  3. What are the two most common elements in the earth's crust?
    Carbon and nitrogen
    Hydrogen and helium
    Iron and nickel
    Silicon and oxygen

  4. What determines the bonding properties of an element?
    The number of protons in the nucleus.
    The number of neutrons in the nucleus.
    The number of electrons in the nucleus.
    The number of electrons in the outer shell.
    The total number of electrons.

  5. What do we call atoms with the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons?
    Anions.
    Cations.
    Complex ions.
    Compounds
    Isotopes.

  6. What do we call positively charged atoms?
    Anions.
    Cations.
    Complex ions.
    Compounds
    Isotopes.

  7. What do we call negatively charged atoms?
    Anions.
    Cations.
    Complex ions.
    Compounds
    Isotopes.

  8. What is involved in covalent bonding?
    The attraction between oppositely charged atoms.
    The attraction of the positive and negative poles of neutral molecules.
    The loose sharing of among all atoms in the substance.
    The sharing of electrons between specific atoms.
    All of the above.

  9. What is involved in ionic bonding?
    The attraction between oppositely charged atoms
    The attraction of the positive and negative poles of neutral molecules
    The loose sharing of among all atoms in the substance
    The sharing of electrons between specific atoms
    All of the above

  10. Which mineral is held together by only covalent bonds?
    Biotite.
    Halite.
    Hornblende.
    Olivine.
    Quartz.

  11. Which mineral is held together by only ionic bonds?
    Biotite.
    Halite.
    Hornblende.
    Olivine.
    Quartz.

  12. What kind of a silicate mineral is Hornblende (an amphibole)?
    Orthosilicate (single tetrahedra).
    Single chain silicate.
    Double chain silicate.
    Sheet silicate.
    Framework silicate (three-dimensional networks).

  13. What kind of a silicate mineral is Muscovite (a mica)?
    Orthosilicate (single tetrahedra).
    Single chain silicate.
    Double chain silicate.
    Sheet silicate.
    Framework silicate (three-dimensional networks).

  14. What kind of a silicate mineral is Olivine (the main mineral in the earth's mantle)?
    Orthosilicate (single tetrahedra).
    Single chain silicate.
    Double chain silicate.
    Sheet silicate.
    Framework silicate (three-dimensional networks).

  15. What kind of a silicate mineral is Orthoclase (a feldspar)?
    Orthosilicate (single tetrahedra).
    Single chain silicate.
    Double chain silicate.
    Sheet silicate.
    Framework silicate (three-dimensional networks).

  16. Which of these cations is found in orthoclase (a feldspar)?
    Calcium (Ca).
    Iron (Fe).
    Magnesium (Mg).
    Potassium (K).
    Sodium (Na).

  17. What is a character of minerals high on Bowen's Reaction Series (such as olivine)?
    Dark color.
    Few cations included.
    Lots of linkages between silicon-oxygen tetrahedra.
    Low density.
    Low melting temperature.

  18. Which of the following is an example of a ferromagnesian (mafic) silicate mineral?
    Feldspar.
    Halite.
    Hornblende.
    Kaolinite.
    Muscovite.

  19. Which of the following is not a silicate mineral?
    Augite.
    Calcite.
    Kaolinite.
    Olivine.
    Quartz.

  20. What mineral family does gypsum belong to?
    Carbonates.
    Halides.
    Oxides.
    Silicates.
    Sulfates.

  21. What is another polymorph of the mineral diamond?
    Calcite.
    Graphite.
    Halite
    Orthoclase.
    Quartz.

  22. Which of the following minerals is lowest on Mohs hardness scale?
    Calcite.
    Diamond.
    Quartz.
    Talc.
    Topaz.

  23. Which mineral exhibits double refraction and reacts with dilute hydrochloric acid?
    Biotite.
    Calcite.
    Halite.
    Magnetite.
    Talc.

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