image

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).








This specemin of Cinnabar Ore is from Nevada. The white crystals are probably Dolomite. Crystal forms of cinnabar are relatively rare.



This is the more common ore of cinnabar, also from nevada.

Cinnabar is a major ore for the production of Mercury. Historically, it has been mined as far back as early Roman times, for mercury. Cinnabar contains as much as 86% Mercury.

Mercury is the only common metal that is liquid at room temperature. It occurs either as native metal or in cinnabar, corderoite, livingstonite, and other minerals. Mercury has uniform volumetric thermal expansion, good electrical conductivity, and easily forms amalgams with almost all common metals except iron. Most mercury is used for the manufacture of industrial chemicals and for electrical and electronic applications.*

*Source - USGS

Mercury Production

Cinnabar, a Mercury Sulfide, is the principal mineral of mercury. These minerals occur in veins, wide dissemination of irregular, sporadic mineralization without any pattern. Mercury is easy to recover from Cinnabar. Ore is crushed to typically 1" to 2" in size then sent to a kiln. Simply heating the ore in a kiln to 1,100 Deg. F, all of the mercury will vaporize into the kiln (mercury vaporizes at 675 deg F). The kiln vapors then must be condensed, by cooling, to recover the mercury, which becomes liquid at temperatures below 675 deg F and freezes solid at 2.8 Deg. F. Some free mercury in the ore can be recovered on Deister wet gravity concentration tables, also.

Typical minerals found with cinnabar include silica, calcite, pyrite, marcasite and bitumen. These minerals often comprise the waste material in a mercury mine.