Minerals & Fossils

Did you know that table salt is a mineral? Do you know that there were animals other than dinosaurs that went extinct? and are fossilized? Did you know that that dull gray limestone and that shiny green marble consist of the same chemical components?


A mineral is an inorganic substance with a chemical formula and crystal structure that occurs in nature. But what does this mean? The word inorganic describes all things that are not living or have no carbon. The chemical formula of each mineral is like the list of ingredients. Table salt has a chemical formula of NaCl or sodium chloride. That is, all pieces of salt contain sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl.). If you look closely at a piece of salt from your salt shaker, you may see that it is shaped like a cube. This cube is characteristic of each salt crystal.

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Fossils are the remains of animals and plants that have been preserved in rock or minerals. Fossils can be grouped into body fossils and trace fossils. Body fossils are preserved parts of the original body of the organism. Trace fossils are evidence of the way of life of ancient plants and animals. They include tracks, burrows, bores and droppings that tell us directly about the way an animal or plant lived and moved. Although dinosaur bones are the most well-known fossils, they are not the only fossils that have taught us about the distant past. The remains of snails, mussels, ferns and many other organisms are common and also provide clues about life on Earth before humans.

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