Minerals & Gemstone 480x104
Minerals & Gemstone 480x104
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MINERAL PROPERTIES: ODOR


Several minerals give off a distinctive odor in certain conditions. Sulfur specimens, in normal room conditions, give off a mild odor resembling the smell of a lighting match. However if heated or struck, they will give off a powerful odor like rotten eggs. Many sulfides, such as Pyrite, also give off a rotten-egg odor if heated or struck.

Native Arsenic specimens give off a very mild garlic smell in normal room conditions. However, if heated or struck, they give off a powerful garlic odor. Some minerals containing arsenic in their chemical formula, such as Arsenopyrite, also give off a garlic odor if struck or heated. (One should never heat a mineral that possibly contains arsenic since its fumes are toxic.)

If wet or in moist conditions, minerals of the clay group, such as Kaolinite, give off an odor resembling fresh clay.

Although only few minerals have a characteristic odor, odor can be a useful identification key where it is applicable.


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