User and Contributor Manual
There are a number of ways to search the mindat.org database, each with its own advantages depending on what you are searching for. In order to best make use of the database to find a wide variety of information, it is important to understand how to use the various search options.
The most basic way to search the mindat.org database is to use the header search function. This is accessed through the search box in the mindat.org header at the top of the page. This type of search is a simple way to access mineral or locality pages as well as search the entire database (including the glossary) for a search term. (Note that term "mineral" is generally used loosely in this text to include rocks, meteorites, and other materials.)
If you are searching for a rock, mineral or other material, search for its name.
Provided you have entered the correct spelling, the search will automatically direct you to the rock or mineral page.
Alternate languages or synonyms also will automatically direct you to the rock or mineral page.
An incorrect spelling or typo will direct you to a page with a list of similarly spelled rocks/minerals and localities in order to help you navigate to the right page.
If you are searching for a locality, enter a portion of the locality name.
All locality searches will direct you to a page listing similarly spelled rocks/minerals and localities in order to allow you to access the correct locality. You can then simply click on the locality that best matches your search, or refine your search term if the locality is not listed.
Tip: It is often best to search localities in the header search using just notable portions of the locality name and without terms such as “mine," "claim," etc. This opens up the search so that any variations to a mine name in the listing will not interfere with the search results. For example, if a locality is listed in the database as a "prospect" rather than a "claim," entering "claim" in the search may hinder the locality from displaying in the results.
For more specific searches, it may be easier to use the footer search which is accessed at the bottom of the page. Searches performed here are less predictive than the header search - meaning the search will look to most closely match the search string rather than make any attempt to figure out what you meant by the search string.
For example, while searching "anatase" in the header will result in being directed to the mineral page for anatase, whereas searching "anatase" in the footer will direct you to a page that lists all terms that include the search term. In this example, "anatase" will show the results "Anatase, Anatase-Columbite Solid Solution, Gel-Anatase, Niobian Anatase, Uranoanatase."
Similarly, when searching for a locality using the header search, you will be directed to a list of top results that match the locality, whereas searching in the footer search will direct you to a list of all localities that match that search.
For example, searching "Colorado" in the header search results in a page listing several mineral results (including coloradoite) as well as a list of the top ten matches (including "Colorado, USA," "Sweet Home Mine," "Sunnyside Mine group," etc.). Searching "Colorado" in the footer results in around 15,000 items, including not just all Colorado, USA localites, but also items like "Río Colorado, Cafayate Department, Salta, Argentina," and "La Mostaza mine (La Colorado mine), Cogotí, Combarbalá, Choapa Province, Coquimbo Region, Chile," etc.
The footer search also allows you to search using both mineral and a locality terms simultaneously. This method will quickly direct you to a list of localities that match the search string. From here, you can click the ⓘ icon to access the locentry page (a page that page that includes data about the mineral species at a locality) or click the link to access a locality page.
Searching the Glossary
The mindat.org glossary is useful for searching for definitions of terms relating to minerals, mining, geology, etc..
These terms can be entered into the header search bar to search the entire database – this can be used successfully for searching some terms, but may direct your search outside the glossary. For example, if you wanted to search the term “coal” for glossary items containing the term “coal,” entering the search into the general search bar will redirect you to the page concerning “coal” as a rock type rather than any glossary terms containing the term “coal.”
To search specifically for a glossary term, access the glossary by selecting “Advanced Search,” then “Search Glossary.” From here, you can browse terms, or use the search glossary box in the upper portion to search for a keyword within the glossary.
Viewing & Searching Photographs
There are a number of ways to view photographs on mindat.org. Each method has its advantages depending on the purpose of the search.
The gallery view is an efficient way to view many photographs very quickly. This view style assembles a gallery of photos without any accompanying textual information. Information associated with the photo can still be accessed by hovering the mouse icon over an image (which displays an overlay with the text information), or by clicking the image to display the image full screen.
The gallery view of a specific mineral or locality can be accessed through the respective mineral or locality page by selecting the “Photos” tab in the page header, then selecting “Gallery.”
A gallery-type photo search of mindat.org in its entirety can be accessed in the mindat.org header by selecting “Photos,” then “Photo Search,” then by entering keywords to search for.
The search photos view is useful for searching images when there is a need to filter the results by certain parameters. This view style lists ten thumbnail photographs per page with textual information listed alongside the image. The filter options at the top of the search allow for filtering the search in several ways. When you have finished selecting your filter options, click the filter button to refine the results.
- Show: refines the search to isolate photos by the approval status within mindat.org.
- Category: refines the search to isolate photos by category (mineral, locality, etc.)
- Photo Type: refines the search by photo type (full view mineral/rock photo, thin section, etc.)
- Search: indicates whether the search should be conducted using all mineral fields or only the primary mineral field [the default is set to only show the primary mineral field]
- Material: refines search to isolate minerals and rocks [the default is set to all]
- Rock/Mineral: isolates the search to one mineral species or rock type
- Country: refines search to isolate photos from a selected country
- Region: allows keyword entry related to the region of a locality search
- Keyword(s): allows keyword entry related to any other parameters of search – multiple keywords can be used with only a space entered between them
- Order by: allows the search results to be filtered in different priorities (rating, most viewed, image size, etc.) [the default is set to rating]
There are several ways to access the search photos view and depending on the method of access, the search parameters listed above may change. For example, when choosing the search photos view from a locality page, the option to select a country will not be shown, as that information is already registered through the locality. Similarly, when accessing the search photo view from a mineral page, the option to choose material will not appear, as that has already been designated, and the mineral drop down will only show a filter for varieties listed under that mineral species.
To access search photos from a mineral page, select the "Photos of [mineral]” tab in the header, then select “Search Photos of [mineral].”
From a locality page, select the “Photos” tab in the header, then select from one of the following options, which will begin to refine your search options immediately:
- All photos: opens the search photo view without any search refinement Mineral photos: opens the search photo view set to search for mineral photos only [the default is set to all]
- Site photos: opens the search photo view set to search for locality photos only
- Miscellaneous photos: opens the search photo view set to search for miscellaneous photos only
Mindat.org provides a space for members to write and contribute articles on a variety of topics. These articles are often great references for research, personal or otherwise.
To search for a particular article, use the “Advanced Search” tab in the mindat.org header, then select “Search Articles.” This will direct to a page where articles can be filtered by author name, title, or keyword.
For information about how to contribute articles to mindat.org, see Mindat.org Articles.
Several functions exist for performing advanced searches in the mindat.org database. These options can be accessed from the mindat.org header under “Advanced Search.”
Search by Properties
Allows searches of the database using the physical properties of a mineral by using one or a combination of the following properties:
- Mineral Name, or part of name: enter a name or mineral name to narrow results
- IMA accepted minerals only: check or uncheck to narrow results to only IMA accepted minerals
- Hardness: enter a hardness or hardness range - use the lowest end of the range on the left-hand side
- Specific gravity: enter a specific gravity range - use the lowest end of the range on the left-hand side
- Color: narrow results by color - this operates similar to keyword searches (e.g. entering "blue" will return results for "blue," "bluish-black," "blue-green," etc.)
- Streak: narrow results by streak color - this operates similar to keyword searches (e.g. entering "blue" will return results for "blue," "bluish-black," "blue-green," etc.)
- Lustre: check one or multiple boxes to narrow results by luster
- Diaphaneity (Transparency): check one or multiple boxes to narrow results by diaphaneity
- Cleavage: check one or multiple boxes to narrow results by cleavage
- Fracture: check one or multiple boxes to narrow results by fracture
- Crystal System: check one or multiple boxes to narrow results by crystal system
- Habit/Morphology: enter habit or morphology to narrow results
- Elements Included/Excluded: enter elements by chemical formula (e.g. Pb, Zn, etc.) to narrow results by elements present or not present
- Locality by ID number or Keyword: enter a locality ID (can be found on the locality page) or keyword to narrow by locality
This search is best refined with as much data provided as possible, but even with minimal data can be used to begin narrowing down possible results.
Search results will display in the right-hand side. As you refine your search, the right-hand side will narrow results, prioritizing by minerals that most closely match your parameters - the percentage matched is indicated in the upper right-hand corner of each mineral listing. Below each mineral is a list of data that will populate as you enter parameters - text show in red indicates the listed property falls within the parameters you have defined, whereas text left in blue indicates the property does not fit into the parameters.
Search by Chemistry
Allows searches of the database using information about the chemistry of a mineral.
- Elements to include: can be typed in, or selected by clicking once on the element in the display of the periodic table - elements selected to be included are shown in yellow.
- Elements to exclude: can be typed in, or selected by clicking TWICE on the element in the display of the periodic table - elements selected to be excluded are shown in black.
- Return IMA-approved species only: check or uncheck to narrow results to only IMA accepted species.
- Return unnamed 'species' only: check or uncheck to narrow results to only unnamed species.
- Essential elements only: check or uncheck to indicate that elements to be included are essential components of the results. Mineral class: drop down to refine the search by minerals categorized in a specific class.
- Include photos: check or uncheck to include photos in the search results - note: search results with no photos available will still display in the results.
Once these parameters are entered, the search can be executed either by “Search Minerals” to reveal minerals fitting the parameters, or by “Search Localities” to reveal localities with matching chemistry.
Advanced Locality Search
Allows you to search for localities with specific parameters.
- Locality name must contain: enter terms that must be contained in the locality name.
- Locality name must not contain: enter terms that must NOT be contained in the locality name.
- Top level region: select a top level region (this may be a country, a region, another planet, etc.) for the search.
- Descriptive text must contain: enter terms that must be contained in the descriptive text.
- Descriptive text must not contain: enter terms that must NOT be contained in the descriptive text.
- Descriptive text is empty: check to search for localities with no descriptive text.
An example of the uses of this feature would be to search using the following parameters in order to find localities in British Columbia with gold crystals:
Locality name must contain: British Columbia
Descriptive text must contain: gold crystals
Selecting this will direct you to a random mineral (or rock or meteorite!) page.
Search by minID
Allows you to search for specimens using a minID.
Localities Near Me
Allows you to search for nearby localities. Manually enter a location in decimal degree format, or use "Get my current location" to automatically calculate your current location. Select "Find nearby localities" to see a map and list of localities nearby. Localities listed will display latitude and longitude of the locality, as well as distance and bearing from the entered coordinates.
More Search Options
A full list of search options can be located in the More Search Options section. This includes many of the search options already described here, as well as a few other more specialized search functions.