Minerals are classified by their composition, the elements that they are made of. As seen by the graph ( left) the most abundant element in the Earth's crust (by weight) is oxygen.
The major mineral groups are:
- silicates- (above right) this is the most common mineral group as it contains oxygen and silicon. ex. feldspar
- carbonates-contain carbon and oxygen, ex. limestone
- oxides- contain oxygen and a metal element, ex. TiO2, rutile
- sulfates/sufides- contain sulfur, hint-all minerals in this group contain sulfur. ex. pyrite
- halides- contain a halogen (salt formers) ex. halite-table salt.
- native - minerals of only one element, ex. gold