The term “cleavage” is often used in the context of human anatomy, specifically to refer to the breasts. However, cleavage can also refer to the division of cells during cell reproduction, or the line of separation between two different crystals.
In geology, the term cleavage is most often used to describe the way in which certain minerals break along certain planes.
The Strong Tendency of Certain Minerals to Break Along Smooth, Parallel Planes is Known As
The answer is cleavage. Certain minerals have a strong tendency to break along smooth, parallel planes. This is known as cleavage. When a mineral breaks in this way, it is said to exhibit perfect cleavage.
Minerals that do not cleave in this way are said to have imperfect or poor cleavage. Examples of minerals with perfect cleavage include halite, fluorite, and calcite. Minerals with poor or imperfect cleavage include quartz and tourmaline.
Cleavage is a very important property in mineral identification. It can be used to help distinguish one mineral from another. For example, the minerals calcite and quartz both have a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale.
However, calcite cleaves perfectly in three directions while quartz does not cleave at all. This means that if you were to take a sample of each mineral and try to break them in half, the calcite would break easily along three smooth, parallel planes.
The quartz, on the other hand, would not break at all. This difference in cleavage is one way that these two minerals can be distinguished from each other.
While cleavage is a useful property in mineral identification, it is not always reliable. There are some minerals that can exhibit perfect cleavage even though they are not the same mineral.
What are the Main Types of Cleavage?
There are four main types of cleavage: simple, perfect, compound, and basal. The type of cleavage a mineral has can be determined by its atomic structure and the way in which its atoms are arranged.
Simple cleavage occurs when a mineral breaks along a single plane. An example of a mineral with simple cleavage is talc. Talc has a Mohs hardness of 1, which means it is very soft and can be easily scratched with a fingernail. If you were to take a sample of talc and try to break it in half, it would break easily along one plane.
Perfect cleavage occurs when a mineral breaks along multiple planes. As mentioned previously, examples of minerals with perfect cleavage include halite, fluorite, and calcite. These minerals have a Mohs hardness of 3 or higher, which means they are not as soft as talc but can still be easily scratched with a knife.
Compound cleavage occurs when a mineral breaks along multiple planes but not in a perfect way. An example of a mineral with compound cleavage is biotite. Biotite has a Mohs hardness of 2–3, which means it is softer than minerals with perfect cleavage but harder than talc.
Basal cleavage occurs when a mineral breaks along a single plane but not in a perfect way. An example of a mineral with basal cleavage is pyroxene. Pyroxene has a Mohs hardness of 5–6, which means it is harder than biotite but not as hard as minerals with perfect cleavage.
What are the Benefits of Cleavage?
Cleavage can be used to help identify minerals. It can also be used to help break minerals into smaller pieces for use in jewelry or other applications. For example, the mineral fluorite has a Mohs hardness of 4.
This means it is not as hard as diamonds but harder than most other minerals. Fluorite can be cut into small pieces and used to make jewelry or other decorative items.