Glossary of Terms

Blowpipe test

Complex, scientific test which is conducted to identify a mineral. A mineral fragment is placed in a cavity on a charcoal block, and a horizontal flame is sent towards the fragment on the charcoal using a blowpipe. Depending on the mineral, a different reaction takes place. Certain metals have a characteristic color when flamed, and if the mineral being tested contains such a metal, the charcoal turns that color behind the fragment. Some minerals form a metal bead after being flamed; others give off fumes; and a few volatilize.


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