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A mineral is a naturally occuring, homogeneous, solid with a crystalline atomic structure. Crystallinity implies that a mineral has a definite and limited range of composition, and that the composition is expressible as a chemical formula. Some definitions of minerals give them as inorganic materials, however both diamonds and graphite are considered minerals, and both are primarily comprised of carbon, which would make them organic. So this leads me, as an engineer, to believe that mineralogists do not have a good, precise definition of a mineral, but rather a loose definition. The definition above, is the most inclusive and would include all substances currently described as minerals. The key items that make something a mineral are occurring naturally, and the definite crystal structure, that is expressible as a chemical formula. Rocks that do not meet this criteria are referred to as amorphis - not having a definite structure or expressible as a chemical formula. Some elements that occur naturally and are minerals are arsenic, bismuth, platinum, gold, silver, copper, and sulphur.

THE DEFINITION OF ORGANIC: Organic chemistry is the study of those substances containing carbon in combination with hydrogen (H), and a few other non metals, namely oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S) and the halogens (F2, Cl2, Br2, and I2).




The Mineral, Carnotite is a uranium ore, one of the major ores of uranium, and in the US is found primarily in the Southwest. It is a vanadate of potassium and uranium, containing small amounts of uranium. It occurs as a powdery incrustation in loosely cohering masses (like the specimen in the photo), or as an impregnation in sand or sandstone. The carnotite is the yellow portion of the ore.

It has a hardness of 1-2, is canary yellow to lemon yellow in color and has a dull luster. It has an orthorhombic crystalline structure. Radium present is typically 1/3 mg radium per Kg uranium.

Some uses for uranium are as a nuclear fuel conversion into plutonium in "breeder" reactors used in nuclear fuels to generate electrical power; synthesis of isotopes; nuclear explosive; X-ray targets for production of high-energy X-rays; the nitrate has been used as photographic toner; and the acetate is used in analytical chemistry.