How to Perform a Mineral Streak Test

A streak test is one tool that geologists use to determine the identity of a mineral.  The “streak” is the color of the mineral in powdered form.  Some minerals will have a streak color that is the same as the outer color of the mineral while others will have a streak color that is very different from the outer color.  Streak tests are easy to do and are a great learning tool for young children because the test is both fun and informative.

You will need:

  • One or more mineral samples
  • White streak plate
  • Black streak plate
  • Pencil
  • Paper

How to Perform a Streak Test:

  1. Gather the mineral samples that you wish to test.
  2. Choose at least one streak plate (white or black) for the test.  Typically, dark minerals work well with white streak plates and light minerals work best with black streak plates.
  3. Place the streak plate on a table and scratch the mineral across the plate.  You may have to scratch really hard to see the color.  The harder the mineral, the harder you will likely have to scratch.  Young children may need an adult to help scratch the mineral on the streak plate.
  4. Observe the color of the streak on the plate.

Record your results on your paper.  List the mineral name, outer color and streak color.  Which minerals have the same streak and outer color?  Which minerals have a different streak color from the outer color?

Check out our website for more information on rocks, minerals and geology.

2 Responses to “How to Perform a Mineral Streak Test”

  1. Honor was hit on your blog, I greet

  2. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

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