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).

Trona is a carbonate mineral. Trona is a double salt of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate with two waters of hydration. The Trona in the photo came from Owens Lake, and is a evaporative deposit of the lake that once existed here. Minerals were first extracted from Owens Lake as far back as 1877.

Owens Lake is a Pleistocene Lake, one of a chain extending from Mono Lake to Lake Manley in Death Valley. Due to the high concentration of dissolved minerals in the water it was a brackish lake. In 1913 the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed, diverting the water to Los Angeles and the lake desicated by 1928, and is now a dry lake bed.

Trona's major use is in glass manufacture, but it is used widely in many applications ranging from animal feed, chemical manufacture, to medicine.*

*Source - US Borax