Density is a measure of how heavy an object is for a given volume. You can get a general idea of the relative densities of different minerals just by picking them up: a piece of galena feels heavier than a piece of quartz of the same size. The density of a mineral depends on its chemical composition, the type of bonding and its crystal structure. The standard unit of density is kg m−3. Examples of the relative densities of various minerals compared with water at room temperature (about 1000 kg m−3) are shown in Table 1. The relationship between density and crystal structure is explored further in Section 1.4.
Table 1 Relative densities of various minerals
|Mineral||Symbol/formula||Relative density at room conditions (compared with water = 1.0)|