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Isotropic elastic properties of minerals

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The bulk elastic properties of a material determine how much it will compress under a given amount of external pressure. This page provides the density, bulk moduli, shear moduli, and elastic velocities of various minerals.

Measuring mineral properties

There are numerous ways to measure mineral moduli. The most obvious is by deforming single crystals. Alternatively, elastic velocities can be measured and moduli extracted for zero porosity aggregates. Mineral properties can also be extracted from the numerous empirical trends developed for rocks.

Mineral properties

Tables 1 a and 1 b present lists of isotropic densities, mineral bulk and shear moduli, and elastic velocities of minerals.

In reality, minerals are anisotropic, and the values listed in the table are averages derived from the effective media fomulas presented in Rock moduli boundary constraints to represent polygrained isotropic composites. The highest-velocity, highest-moduli are for such minerals as almandine and rutile. Velocities can reach 9 km/s for Vp(See Compressional and shear velocities), and moduli can be in the hundreds of GPa(Gigapascal).

Clays are a particular problem. As noted before, they are among the most abundant minerals on the surface of the Earth, and are common in most sedimentary rocks. Their small size, variable composition, and chemical activity make them difficult to characterize from a mechanical point of view. The results of Katahara,[1] Wang et al.,[2] and Prasad et al.[3] are given in Table 1b.


  1. Katahara, K.W. 1996. Clay Mineral Elastic Properties. Presented at the 1996 SEG Annual Meeting, Denver, 10-15 November. Paper No. 1996-1691.
  2. Wang, Z.Z., Wang, H., and Cates, M.E. 1998. Elastic Properties of Solid Clays. Presented at the 1998 SEG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 13-18 September. Paper No. 1998-1045.
  3. Prasad, M., Kopycinska, M., Rabe, U. et al. 2002. Measurement of Young's modulus of clay minerals using atomic force acoustic microscopy. Geophys. Res. Lett. 29 (8): 1172.

Noteworthy papers in OnePetro

Use this section to list papers in OnePetro that a reader who wants to learn more should definitely read

External links

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See also

Stress strain relationships in rocks

Compressional and shear velocities

Rock moduli boundary constraints

Predicting rock properties