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The crystal framework of non-silicate minerals (check out table) does not contain silica-oxygen tetrahedra. Many non-silicate minerals are economically necessary and administer metallic resources such as copper, lead, and iron. They also include useful non-metallic products such as salt, building materials, and also fertilizer.

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Table (PageIndex1): Common non-silicate mineral teams. Mineral GroupExamplesFormulaUses
Native elements gold, silver, copper Au, Ag, Cu Jewelry, coins, industry
Carbonates calcite, dolomite CaCO3, CaMg(CO3)2 Lime, Portland also cement
Oxides hematite, magnetite, bauxite Fe2O3, Fe3O4, a mixture of aluminum oxides Ores of iron & aluminum, pigments
Halides halite, sylvite NaCl, KCl Table salt, fertilizer
Sulfides galena, chalcopyrite, cinnabar PbS, CuFeS2, HgS Ores of lead, copper, mercury
Sulphates gypamount, epsom salts CaSo4·2H2O, MgSO4·7H2O Sheetrock, therapeutic soak
Phosphates apatite Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH) Fertilizer, teeth, bones


Figure (PageIndex1): Calcite crystal in shape of rhomb. Note the double-refracted word “calcite” in the facility of the number as a result of birefringence.
Figure (PageIndex2): Limestone complete of small fossils

Calpoint out (CaCO3) and dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) are the two a lot of frequently emerging carbonate minerals, and also usually take place in sedimentary rocks, such as limerock and also dolorock rocks, respectively. Some carbonate rocks, such as calcite and dolomite, are formed by means of evaporation and also precipitation. However, most carbonate-well-off rocks, such as limestone, are produced by the lithification of fossilized marine organisms. These organisms, including those we have the right to watch and also many type of microscopic organisms, have shells or exoskeleloads consisting of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). When these organisms die, their remains accumulate on the floor of the water body in which they live and the soft body parts dewrite and also disresolve away. The calcium carbonate hard parts end up being had in the sediments, eventually ending up being the sedimentary rock called limerock. While limerock might contain huge, easy to check out fossils, most limestones contain the stays of microscopic creatures and hence originate from biological procedures.

Figure (PageIndex3): Birefringence in calpoint out crystals

Calpoint out crystals show an exciting property referred to as birefringence, definition they polarize light right into two wave components vibrating at ideal angles to each various other. As the two light waves pass with the crystal, they take a trip at various velocities and also are separated by refraction into 2 different travel courses. In various other words, the crystal produces a dual picture of objects viewed with it. Because they polarize light, calmention crystals are offered in one-of-a-kind petrographic microscopes for researching minerals and rocks.

Many kind of non-silicate minerals are referred to as salts. The term salts supplied here describes compounds made by replacing the hydrogen in organic acids. The the majority of plentiful natural acid is carbonic acid that develops by the solution of carbon dioxide in water. Carbonate minerals are salts constructed approximately the carbonate ion (CO3-2) where calcium and/or magnesium replace the hydrogen in carbonic acid (H2CO3). Calpoint out and also closely-associated polymorph aragonite are secreted by organisms to develop shells and physical structures favor corals. Many type of such creatures attract both calcium and carbonate from liquified bicarbonate ions (HCO3–) in sea water. As seen in the mineral identification area below, calpoint out is easily dissolved in acid and therefore effervesces in dilute hydrochloric acid (HCl). Small dropper bottles of dilute hydrochloric acid are regularly brought by nlinux.orglogists in the field and supplied in mineral identification labs.

Other salts encompass halite (NaCl) in which sodium relocations the hydrogen in hydrochloric acid and also gypamount (Ca • 2 H2O) in which calcium reareas the hydrogen in sulfuric acid. Note that some water molecules are also contained in the gypamount crystal. Salts are often developed by evaporation and also are called evaporite minerals.

Figure (PageIndex4): Crystal framework of calcite

The figure shows the crystal framework of calcite (CaCO3). Like silsymbol, carbon has 4 valence electrons. The carbonate unit is composed of carbon atoms (tiny white dots) covalently bonded to 3 oxygen atoms (red), one oxygen sharing two valence electrons with the carbon and the other 2 sharing one valence electron each via the carbon, therefore producing triangular devices with a charge of -2. The negatively charged carbonate unit creates an ionic bond with the Ca ion (blue), which as a charge of +2.

Oxides, Halides, and Sulfides

Figure (PageIndex5): Limonite, hydrated oxide of iron

After carbonates, the following most widespread non-silicate minerals are the oxides, halides, and sulfides.

Oxides consist of metal ions covalently bonded via oxygen. The the majority of familiar oxide is rust, which is a mix of iron oxides (Fe2O3) and also hydrated oxides. Hydrated oxides create when the iron is exposed to oxygen and water. Iron oxides are essential for developing metallic iron. When iron oxide or ore is smelted, it produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and metallic iron.

The red shade in rocks is commonly because of the existence of iron oxides. For example, the red sandstone cliffs in Zion National Park and also throughout Southern Utah consist of white or colorless grains of quartz coated through iron oxide which serve as cementing agents holding the grains together.

Figure (PageIndex6): Oolitic hematite

Other iron oxides encompass limonite, magnetite, and also hematite. Hematite occurs in many different crystal creates. The huge develop mirrors no outside structure. Botryoidal hematite reflects big concentric blobs. Specular hematite looks prefer a mass of shiny metallic crystals. Oolitic hematite looks prefer a mass of dull red fish eggs. These different creates of hematite are polymorphs and also all have the very same formula, Fe2O3.

Other prevalent oxide minerals include:

Ice (H2O), an oxide of hydrogen Bauxite (Al2H2O4), hydrated oxides of aluminum, an ore for creating metallic aluminum Corundum (Al2O3), which has ruby and also sapphire gemstones.
Figure (PageIndex8): Fluorite. B mirrors fluorescence of fluorite under UV light

Halide minerals typically develop from the evaporation of seawater or other isolated bodies of water. A famous instance of halide mineral deposits created by evaporation is the Bonneville Salt Flats, situated west of the Great Salt Lake in Utah (see figure).

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Figure (PageIndex9): Cubic crystals of pyrite

Many essential metal ores are sulfides, in which metals are bonded to sulhair. Huge examples include galena (lead sulfide), sphalerite (zinc sulfide), pyrite (iron sulfide, occasionally dubbed “fool’s gold”), and also chalcopyrite (iron-copper sulfide). Sulfides are well known for being crucial ore minerals. For example, galena is the main source of lead, sphalerite is the main source of zinc, and chalcopyrite is the main copper ore mineral mined in porphyry deposits prefer the Bingham mine (view chapter 16). The largest resources of nickel, antimony, molybdenum, arsenic, and mercury are likewise sulfides.