Mineral Forming Environments main content.

Mineral Forming Environments

Part of Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.


Minerals are not the products of accidental events in Earth’s remote geologic past but are formed in an orderly way that depends chiefly on physical and chemical conditions in their environments of formation.

Audio Transcript
Welcome to the area in which minerals are displayed in terms of the environments in which they are formed. Minerals are not the products of accidental events in Earth's remote and distant geological past. Rather, minerals are formed through a complex interaction of many kinds of chemical and physical processes.

And in this series of exhibits, the various mineral-forming environments will be introduced to you. Minerals typically developed in each of these environments are arranged in groups of several individual cases.

Minerals form either deep within the Earth, or at relatively shallow depths, or even at the Earth's surface.

Minerals that form at considerable depths within Earth's crust do so in a (1) metamorphic environment, (2) magnetic environment, (3) pegmatitic environment, and (4) hydrothermal environment.

Other kinds of minerals developed at or near the surface of the earth. These minerals could form in a, (1) environment of oxidation and secondary enrichment, or (2) the evaporite environment, or (3) the volcanic environment, or (4) the sedimentary environment.

The processes occurring in these environments often relate to one another, so that certain minerals formed in one environment are basic to the development of other minerals at a later stage.