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User and Contributor Manual

Mineral Pages

Mineral pages hold information relevant to individual minerals, rocks, meteorite types, gem materials, and other mineral or rock-like materials that we need to describe. To simplify things, these are all referred to as 'mineral pages' even though many of them are not actually minerals. Each page refers to a single 'name', so multiple names for the same mineral (barite and baryte for example) will have their own pages, but only one of these will contain full information, the other is a 'synonym' which essentially redirects to the 'official' page. follows the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) standards for mineral name and nomenclature (except in one or two specific cases where this would cause issues with our database). Our rock names correspond primarily with the IUGS definitions for igneous and metamorphic rocks, along with additions and minor nomenclature improvements as published by the British Geological Survey (BGS). Our meteorite names are based on those published by the Meteoritical Society.

Types of Entries

There are several different types of entries that a mineral page can be created for. These are, as follows:

Minerals: This is for valid, IMA recognized mineral names.

Synonyms: Mineral names in foreign languages, minerals who have had several names through history, and obsolete names for these minerals.

Varieties: Names given to minerals that have a specific characteristic that distinguishes it from other members of the same species. Examples of various reasons for varietal names:

  • Various chemical variations in a mineral (ex. calcite vs. manganoan calcite)
  • Color varieties (ex. amethyst vs. quartz)
  • Variations in habit (ex. specularite vs. hematite)
  • Found in a specific locality (ex. Herkimer diamond vs. quartz)

Series: Used to describe minerals that are chemically related, but differ only in percentage of certain elements (ex. forserite – fayalite series, which are the magnesium and iron-rich end members of the series, respectively.)

Mixture: Names given to substances that contain a mixture of minerals occurring together – this is sometimes due to historical naming of a “mineral” that was ultimately found to be a mixture of two or more minerals.

Group: Refers to groups of related minerals – this is often used when there has not been a specific analysis done to determine the exact make-up of a mineral occurrence. (ex. almandine and spessartine belong to the garnet group.)

Polytype: Some minerals have varieties that only differ in the stacking of similar structural units in its atomic structure. These are generally not regarded as distinct minerals by the IMA, but are listed as different polytypes (usually with different crystallographic properties) of the same mineral species (ex:. molybdenite has two polytypes - Molybdenite-2H and Molybedenite-3R).

Rock and Meteorite types: These are grouped together as there is some overlap, especially with lunar and martian meteorites.

Other compounds: This is for anything that doesn't fit into the fields above. This may include possible minerals that haven't been approved yet, organic materials, liquids or gases that do not qualify to be minerals, and things such as carbon dioxide, which isn't a mineral on earth but certainly is on some other planets (no one has collected it there yet so it's not approved yet.)

Information Available on Mineral Pages

Mineral pages are structured similarly throughout the database as described below. Some entries may have more detailed information than others, and different types of pages (see above) have different options displayed.

The fields described below are for a typical IMA-approved mineral page.

General Information

Common information about a mineral is included here. This typically includes the chemical formula, crystal system, some of its physical properties (namely hardness and color), origin of its name, as well as information briefs on various polymorphs, position in series, or membership in a mineral group.

Classification of a Mineral

This lists the IMA validity status of the mineral and how various authors have classified the mineral.
For more information about IMA approvals, see IMA status. Further information about the various groupings can be found by clicking on the respective link.

Pronunciation of a Mineral

This contains an embedded audio file of the pronunciation of the mineral.

Physical Properties of a Mineral

Lists the full range of physical properties of a mineral: luster, diaphaneity (transparency), color, streak, hardness, tenacity, cleavage, fracture, and density.

Optical Data of a Mineral

Lists whether the mineral is isotropic, uniaxial, or biaxial, as well as refractive indexes, 2V angles, birefringence interference color range, surface relief, and dispersion.

Chemical Properties of a Mineral

Lists the formula for the mineral and any other elements that are commonly found in this mineral.

Age Information

Describes the age range of a mineral based on data.

Crystallography of a Mineral

This includes the crystal system of a mineral, as well as its space group, class, cell parameters, morphology, and twinning. The display also contains alternate settings of the crystal class and space group.

Crystallographic Forms of a Mineral

This displays crystal diagrams - either in two-dimensional line drawings or as three-dimensional models. 3D models can be rotated on screen with the option to toggle reference marks (edge lines, miller indices, and axes), transparency (opaque, translucent, and transparent), as well as set standard views (along a-axis, along b-axis, along c-axis, start rotation, and stop rotation). Some minerals have had more than one crystal habit rendered – additional habits can be displayed by choosing from the list.

Crystal Structure

Some minerals have had their internal atomic structure rendered into models – this section displays that structure, as well as the reference to the work done to map that structure. These models can be rotated on screen with options to show various portions of the structure (unit cell, structure, polyhedra), background (black or white), set rotation (stop or start), and label individual atoms in the structure (label atoms or off).

Epitaxial Relationships of a Mineral

Displays information related to epitaxial relationships of a mineral with other minerals.

X-Ray Powder Diffraction

Displays the x-ray powder diffraction graph results with data corresponding to the graph (radiation and data set). The data set box can be dropped down to access results from other x-ray diffraction results, often from other localities.
of the d-cell spacing and intensities for X-ray powder diffraction.

X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data

List the d-spacing and intensities for X-ray powder diffraction.

Type Occurrence of a Mineral

This lists the locality from which a specimen of the mineral was first described. Minerals may have been originally found elsewhere, but were either not identified or were for some reason not suitable for analysis.

Synonyms of a Mineral

Lists various synonyms for the mineral.

Other Language Names for a Mineral

Lists the name of the mineral in other languages.

Varieties of a Mineral

Lists varieties of a mineral with a description of the variety. Note: varieties of a mineral are not recognized by the IMA, and some items in this list may be historical names, marketing terms, etc.

Relationship of a Mineral to Other Species

Includes information about position in series, membership in groups, common associations, and related minerals according to Nickel-Strunz Grouping and Hey's Index Grouping.

Common Associates

Lists commonly associated minerals based on photo data.

Related Minerals

Lists related minerals per the classifications established in the Nickel-Strunz, Dana, and Hey groupings.

Other Information

Lists any other miscellaneous facts about the mineral. This can include fluorescence, thermal behavior, possible health risks, industrial uses, and any other information that does not fit into previous categories.

A Mineral in Petrology

Displays hierarchies of how the mineral is related to rock types - items listed in red are rock types in which the mineral is an essential or common component.

References for a Mineral

Lists major references for the mineral, including the type description of the mineral.

Internet Links for a Mineral

Lists links to search engines, other web databases, mineral dealers, specimens currently available on, and any other miscellaneous links related to the mineral.

Localities for a Mineral

Lists the localities of the mineral in the standard hierarchal order, with references accompanying each locality. If the list of localities is extensive, the list will be hidden until “Show Locality List” is clicked. The map can be navigated to search for localities, or a locality from the list can be isolated on the map by clicking the mindat icon next to the locality. Localities for varietal listings are not shown here, but can be accessed through the mineral page of that variety.

Mineral editing is currently only available to a small group of trusted members due to the complexity of the system.

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