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Scientific study of minerals, including their physical properties, chemical composition, internal crystal structure, occurrence and distribution in nature, and origins or conditions of formation. Mineralogic studies range from description and classification of new or rare minerals to analysis of crystal structure and laboratory or industrial synthesis of mineral species. The methods employed include physical and chemical identification tests, determination of crystal symmetry and structure, optical examination, X-ray diffraction, and isotope analysis.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mineralogy, visit Britannica.com.