5 Properties That Make Ice A Mineral

 1. Introduction

2. Naturally Occurring

3. Inorganic

4. Solid

5. Definite Chemical Composition

6. Ordered Internal Structure

7. Conclusion


I'm going to let you in on a little secret "ice is a mineral". It might surprise you to learn that simple fact since we don't hear a lot about minerals that aren't rocks or crystals. But it's true. Before jumping into this subject, let's start by defining what a Mineral is. Well, A mineral is an inorganic material. It is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth's crust. It has a regular internal structure and is crystalline. Based on this definition we can prove that ice is actually a mineral.

5 Properties That Make Ice A Mineral
Ice Cubes

What you probably don't realize is that an individual watery H20 molecule doesn't necessarily exhibit the properties of a mineral. In everyday life, water is in liquid form, but under certain conditions, it can be found in solid form as well. The transition between states of matter namely when ice forms out of liquid water is considered a phase transition. Due to the unique molecular structure of this hexagonal material, it's often referred to as a mineral. There are numerous properties of ice that make it a mineral including:

Naturally Occurring

Naturally Occurring: Ice can only form naturally without human intervention. It’s not possible to create ice in a lab and call it a mineral. Natural ice is found in glaciers, icebergs, and frozen lakes or streams. It can also form as frost on plants or structures outside when the air temperature is below freezing point. Laboratory-made ice can be formed by placing water in a freezer or by allowing water to evaporate in vacuum conditions until it crystallizes as frost on surrounding surfaces.

5 Properties That Make Ice A Mineral
Greenland Ice Sheet.


Inorganic: Minerals should have no traces of life within them. Organic minerals are usually planted or animal matter. Ice doesn't contain any living material, and it has a distinct chemical makeup; it's made up of molecules with two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom.

5 Properties That Make Ice A Mineral
Weather Ice Icy Cold Frost Frozen Cool Winter


Solid: Minerals have a crystalline structure that is solid at room temperature. Water can exist in three forms: solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (vapor). Since ice is solid, it has a crystalline structure, meaning the molecules are arranged in an ordered pattern.

5 Properties That Make Ice A Mineral
Ice Cubes

Definite Chemical Composition

Definite Chemical Composition: Ice has a fixed chemical formula of H2O. This means that there are always two hydrogen atoms present for every oxygen atom in any given sample of ice. This chemical composition doesn’t change based on where the ice was formed or how long it was exposed to certain conditions.

5 Properties That Make Ice A Mineral
H2O Lewis Structure

Ordered Internal Structure

Ordered Internal Structure: The atoms that make up each type of mineral are arranged in a definite pattern called its crystal structure, though they may appear random under low magnification. Atoms in different minerals can be arranged in very different ways – even when they contain the same elements! Specifically, ice has an ordered atomic structure that cannot be changed without it changing into another substance. In this case, water changes to ice, and vice versa.

5 Properties That Make Ice A Mineral
Ice XI View along the c axis


Ultimately, the five properties we looked at here make ice a mineral. It doesn't exhibit all the properties of a mineral, but the ones it does show are enough to verify its status as one. It may not be obvious to those who have spent their entire lives thinking about ice as a liquid, but for materials science, experts looking for an answer to this question, identifying ice as a mineral is no problem. And from the looks of how important this issue is in the world of materials science and education, it's clear that ice belongs among these other minerals.

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