Weathering of Minerals

Wendy Van Norden
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Initial Publication Date: July 26, 2006


Students determine the % change in mass of mineral samples that have been placed in a rock tumbler. They graph the relationship between the hardness of the mineral and the % change in mass. They then consider why some of the mineral samples do not conform the the relationship they graphed. They investigate the physical properties of the outliers and consider how the physical properties contributed to the rate of weathering, and what kind of weathering occurred in the rock tumbler.

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Learning Goals

The goal is to promote understanding of physical and chemical weathering and the physical properties of minerals that affect the rate of weathering.
Graphing and analysis of graphs
Massing and simple calculations

Context for Use

Introductory geology- taught to high school students.
Graphing on Excel, understanding of the physical properties of minerals, kinds of kinds of mechanical and chemical weathering.
It is included in a unit on weathering and sedimentary rocks.

Description and Teaching Materials

  • rock tumbler
  • beaker with acidic water, pH of 4 or 5
  • beaker of water, pH of 7
  • mineral samples: calcite, halite, quartz, and any variety of minerals that are available and expendable.
  • balance

Teaching Notes and Tips

Instructor's Notes (Microsoft Word 25kB Jun8 11)


Student hand in their lab for a grade.

References and Resources