Ontario, Canada is the source of a wealth of minerals, used for many different purposes. There are over 4000 known minerals, and only 100 or so are considered common. For the mineral junkie, Ontario is a place that will never fully be explored. There are thousands of mineral samples to be found in Ontario. Through biochemical processes over thousands of years minerals are formed with a well-ordered atomic structure that serves to increase the stability of most of the examples. While a rock is a conglomeration of different things, including minerals, the minerals themselves must have a specific chemical composition unique to that specific mineral. Simple elements can be minerals, but also very complex ones with thousands of different arrangements that constitute individual examples. At microscopic levels, true minerals have an intricate, fragile crystalline structure. Geometric in nature, these structures can be divided into a number of categories based on the atomic arrangement in the crystal lattice, of which there are fourteen basic examples known as the Bravais lattices. These may then be correspondingly placed into one of the seven recognized crystal systems. Underlying structures are consistently periodic and X-ray diffraction can be used to determine the makeup of the lattice and the system, which make up the structure. Minerals can have the same chemical composition, but with different arrangements of atoms resulting in what is called a polymorph. In the same vein, there are minerals with the same structure that have different chemical compositions. Minerals can be made of the same elements but possess very different physical properties. Carbon is the element that makes up both graphite and diamond, two minerals that have very different physical attributes. While graphite is light and fragile due to the lengthwise arrangement of the carbon atoms in sheets that are not bonded securely, diamond is composed of carbon atoms in a nearly indestructible pyramidal arrangement and is the hardest of the known minerals. Without minerals humans could not survive. Our bodies contain many minerals, and minerals are an important part of our diet. But you wouldn’t want to eat some minerals, they are poisons. Arsenic for example. According to the International Mineralogical Association, minerals must be formed as a result of geological processes. This means that materials fitting the criteria of minerals, but having been produced through biological processes, do not qualify. An example would be a seashell. However, there are some scientists who argue that these substances, while not being formed geologically, should still be considered minerals, . These individuals would express the production as having to occur biogeochemically, although the difference is really only a matter of classification.
Here is a list of only the minerals found in Ontario that begin with the letter A:
Acanthite, Actinolite, Aegirine, Aenigmatite, Aeschynite, Aikinite, Akaganeite, Aktashite, Albite, Aleksite, Allanite, Allargentum, Alloclasite, Almandine, Altaite, Amblygonite, Analcime, Anatase, Ancylite, Andalusite, Andradite, Anglesite, Anhydrite, Ankerite, Annabergite, Anthophyllite, Antigorite, Antimony, Aragonite, Arfvedsonite, Arsenic, Arsenohauchecornite, Arsenolite, Arsenopyrite, Atokite, Augite, Auricupride, Aurostibite.