Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is snow a mineral? Of quartz! just kidding, it's made out of one mineral: ICE

I haven't have the opportunity of collecting a snow flake to analyze it under the microscope, or simply with a magnifying glass just to make sure I too believe that snow is made out of ice crystals, and that these are considered just like any other specimen, a true mineral! unbelievable uh? Anyhow, this is the hyperlink to a website in which I saw the latest and most astonishing pictures of snow crytals I've ever seen: Snowflakes

If someone asked me what is that I learned in the subject of mineralogy about ice as a mineral I can still remember that it has basal cleveage, and therfore, that permits the flow of ice in a glaciar. Is it true? does it make sense? I leave this open for discussion.

Following is the technical data of ice crystals:

Chemical Formula: H2O

Composition: Molecular Weight = 18.02 gm
Hydrogen 11.19 % H 100.00 % H2O
Oxygen 88.81 % O

Environment: Cold weather as snow crystals, coating ponds, glaciers, and icebergs.
Locality: World wide (I don't think someone has ever seen snow in the Sahara Desert though).
Name Origin: From the Middle English "is" or "iis", related to the Dutch "ijs" and German "eis".

Cleavage: None according to many, but it does have basal cleavage
Color: Colorless, Pale blue, Greenish blue, White.
Density: 0.9167
Diaphaniety: Transparent
Fracture: Brittle - Conchoidal - Very brittle fracture producing small, conchoidal fragments.
Habit: Crystalline - Coarse - Occurs as well-formed coarse sized crystals.
Habit: Dendritic - Branching "tree-like" growths of great complexity (e.g. pyrolusite).
Habit: Massive - Granular - Common texture observed in granite and other igneous rock.
Hardness: 2.5 - Finger Nail
Streak: White
Luminescence: Non-fluorescent.
Luster: Vitreous - Dull