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MINERALPROPERTIES:CLEAVAGE AdvertisingInformation
(IncludingFractureandParting)


Cleavage,fracture,andpartingallhavetodowiththepositioningofatomsinamineralandhowitbreakswhenputunder
stress.(Thesethreepropertiesarelistedonthesamepageduetotheircomparability,butareeachindividuallydiscussed).

Cleavage
Parting
Fracture



Cleavage:
Inmineralterms,cleavagedescribeshowacrystalbreakswhensubjecttostressonaparticularplane.Ifpartofacrystal
breaksduetostressandthebrokenpieceretainsasmoothplaneorcrystalshape,themineralhascleavage.Amineralthat
neverproducesanycrystallizedfragmentswhenbrokenoffhasnocleavage.

Cleavageisoftenmeasuredbythreefactors:
1)QualityofCleavage
2)NumberofSidesExhibitingCleavage
3)CleavageHabit

QualityofCleavage:

Qualityofcleavagecanbecategorizedintofivequalities:

Perfect
Good
Poor
Indiscernible(Indistinct)
None

Mineralswith perfectcleavagewillcleavewithoutleavinganyroughsurfacesafull,smoothplaneisformedwherethecrystal
broke.Mineralswith goodcleavagealsoleavesmoothsurfaces,butoftenleaveoverminorresidualroughsurfaces.On
mineralswithpoorcleavage,thesmoothcrystaledgeisnotveryvisible,sincetheroughsurfaceisdominant.Ifamineral
exhibitscleavage,butitsopoorthatitishardlynoticeable,ithas" indiscernible"cleavage.Mineralswithnocleavagenever
exhibitanycleavage,thusbrokensurfacesarefracturedandrough.

Categorizationofcleavagequalitiesisnotscientificallyaffirmed.Theabovecategorizationisusedbymostmineralreferences,
butsomeguidescategorizecleavageinthreeorfourgroups,andmaygivethemdifferentnames,suchas"excellent"and
"distinct".

NumberofSidesExhibitingCleavage:

Manymineralsexhibitcleavageonlyononeside,andsomemayexhibitdifferentqualitycleavageondifferentcrystalsides.
Thefollowingcriteriamaybeexpectedwhenanalyzingthecleavageofanyparticularmineral:

OneDirection
TwoDirections
ThreeDirections
AllDirections

Theseidentifyhowmany"directions",orplanes,thecrystalisexhibitingthecleavageon.Eachdirectionsignifiesthetwo
oppositesidesofathreedimensionalfigure,(sinceoppositesideswillalwaysexhibitthesamecleavageproperties).Ifamineral
hascleavageinthreedirections,theneverysideofthemineralhascleavage(i.e.length,width,andheight).Ifamineraloccurs
inmodifiedcrystalswithmorethansixsides(i.e.anoctahedron)andexhibitscleavageonallthesides,thanithascleavagein
" alldirections".
Combiningthecleavageleveltogetherwiththenumberofsideswillmeasurethecleavageofamineral.Forexample,ifa
mineralhasGoodCleavage,TwoDirections,thismeansthatithasgoodcleavageonfouroutofsixsides(whiletheother
twosidesexhibitnocleavage).IfamineralhasPerfectCleavage,OneDirectionPoorCleavage,TwoDirections,this
meansthatthemineralhasperfectcleavageontwosides,andpoorcleavageontheotherfour.

Inthisguide,cleavagequalityismeasuredinnumbers,thentheamountofsides,separatedbyacomma.1isperfect
cleavage,2isgoodcleavage,and3ispoorcleavage.Ifthecleavageofamineraliswrittenas1,2themineralhasperfect
cleavageintwodirections.Ifallsidesofmineralhavethesamecleavage,andthemineraloftenoccursinmodifiedcrystalswith
morethansixsides,thanAllSidesiswritteninsteadofanumber.Ifamineralexhibitsdifferentcleavageondifferentcrystal
planes,therewillbetwocleavageindicatorsseparatedbyasemicolon().Forexample,ifthecleavageofamineraliswritten
as1,23,1,thanithasperfectcleavageintwodirections,andpoorcleavageinoneotherdirection.Ifamineralexhibits
indistinctornocleavage,IndiscernibleorNoneiswritteninthecleavagefield.

CleavageHabit:

Differenthabitsofcleavageexistondifferentminerals,dependingontheirmodeofcrystallization.Theseformsofcleavageare:

Basalcleavage:
Cleavageexhibitedonahorizontalplaneofthemineralbywayofitsbase.Mineralswithbasalcleavagecansometimesbe
"peeled".
Anexampleofbasalcleavagearethemicaminerals.

Cubiccleavage:
Cleavageexhibitedonmineralsoftheisometriccrystalsystemthatarecrystallizedascubes.Inthismethodofcleavage,small
cubesevenlybreakoffofanexistingcube.
AnexampleisGalena.

Octahedralcleavage:
Cleavageexhibitedonmineralsoftheisometriccrystalsystemthatarecrystallizedasoctahedrons.Inthismethodofcleavage,
flat,triangular"wedges"peeloffofanexistingoctahedron.
AnexampleisFluorite.

Prismaticcleavage:
Cleavageexhibitedonsomeprismaticmineralsinwhichacrystalcleavesasthin,vertical,prismaticcrystalsoffoftheoriginal
prism.
AnexampleisAegirine.

Pinicoidalcleavage:
Cleavageexhibitedonsomeprismaticandtabularmineralsinwhichacrystalcleavesonthepinacoidalplane,whichisthethird
dimensionasidefromthebasalandprismaticsides.
AnexampleisBarite.

Rhombohedralcleavage
Cleavageexhibitedonmineralscrystallizinginthehexagonalcrystalsystemasrhombohedrons,inwhichsmallrhombohedrons
breakoffoftheexistingrhombohedron.
AnexampleisCalcite.

Parting:
Partingischaracteristicallysimilartocleavage.Itiseasilyconfusedwithcleavage,anditmaybepresentonmineralsthatdo
notexhibitanycleavage.Therearetwocausesofparting:

1.Twoseparatepressurespushedtowardthecenterofacrystalafteritsformation,causingthecrystalinteriortoevenlydislodgeonaflat,
smoothplane.
2.Twinnedcrystalsthatseparatedfromoneanother,leavingaflat,smoothplane.

Withenoughperception,adistinctioncanbemadebetweenpartingandcleavage.Iffracturemarksarepresentonacrystalin
additiontoacleavedplane,the"cleaved"surfaceisusuallytheresultofparting,notcleavage.Anoutlineofacrystaletchedin
amineralisalsotheresultofparting,intheformoftwinnedcrystalsthatseparated.

Ingeneral,oneneednotworryaboutconfusingpartingwithcleavage.Partingisuncommon,anditcanusuallybedetermined
bythedistinguishingcharacteristicsmentionedabove.

Fracture:
Fractureisthecharacteristicmarkleftwhenamineralchipsorbreaks.Cleavageandfracturedifferinthatcleavageisthebreak
ofacrystalfacewhereanewface(resultinginasmoothplane)isformed,whereasfractureisthe"chipping"shapeofa
mineral.Allmineralsexhibitafracture,eventhosethatexhibitcleavage.Ifamineralwithcleavageischippedacertainway,it
willfractureratherthancleave.

Thereareseveraltermstodescribethevariousmineralfractures:

ConchoidalFractureresemblingasemicircularshell,withasmooth,curvedsurface.Anexampleofconchoidalfracturecan
beseeninbrokenglass.(Thisfractureisalsoknownas" shelly "insomereferenceguides.)
UnevenFracturethatleavesaroughorirregularsurface.

HacklyFracturethatresemblesbrokenmetal,withrough,jagged,points.Truemetalsexhibitthisfracture.(Thisfractureis
alsoknownas" jagged".)
SplinteryFracturethatformselongatedsplinters.Allfibrousmineralsfallintothiscategory.

EarthyorcrumblyFractureofmineralsthatcrumblewhenbroken.

EvenorsmoothFracturethatformsasmoothsurface.

SubconchoidalFracturethatfallssomewherebetween conchoidalandevensmoothwithirregularroundedcorners.
Somereferencesmaydescribeadditionalfracturesnotmentionedabove,butthosetermsareeithersynonymousorsimply
usedasaverbaldepictionoftheauthorsinference.

Almostallmineralshaveacharacteristicfracture.Somemineralsofthesamespeciesmayexhibitadifferentfracture,butthisis
rare.

Howtousecleavage,parting,andfractureasanidentificationmark

Aspecimenneednotbebrokentocheckitsfracturehabitorcleavage.Rather,itshouldbecheckedforareasofstresswhere
itcouldhavebrokenorchipped.Fracturemarksarerarelypresentonmineralswithgoodorexcellentcleavage.Mineralswith
poorcleavagewillfracturemoreoftenthanthosewithgoodorperfectcleavage.

Howtotestingusingcleavage,parting,andfracture

Observethemineraltoseeifithasanycleavedsurfacesorfracturededges.Ifithascleavedsurfaces,thequalityofthe
smoothnessonthesurfaceshouldbenoted.Iftherearenovisiblecleavedsurfaces,itdoesnotmeanthemineraldoesnot
exhibitcleavage.Itispossiblethatparticularspecimendidnotcleave.Onsuchaspecimen,itisonlypossibletocheckcleavage
bychippingoffapiece.Thisshouldbedonegentlyandcarefullyinanareawhichwillnotdegradeitsvalue.Ifthereisa
noticeablefractureonthemineral,itisanlikelyindicationthatthemineralprobablyhaspoorcleavageornoneatall.

Carefulobservationandexperienceshouldalsobeabletodistinguishbetweenacleavedcrystalandacrystalthatparted.

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