Is Liquid Water a Mineral? The Science Behind It

Minerals are substances that are naturally occurring, crystalline solid that are stable at room temperature. They are inorganic in nature and have a definite chemical composition. Minerals are found in a wide variety of forms, including rocks, crystals, and ores. One question that has been debated in the scientific world is whether or not liquid water is actually a mineral. In this article, we will explore the science behind this topic and provide some answers to common questions.

The Definition of a Mineral

The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) is the organization responsible for defining and classifying minerals. According to the IMA, a substance can be classified as a mineral if it meets the following criteria:

  • It must be naturally occurring, which means it cannot be man-made.
  • It must be solid at room temperature, meaning that it cannot be a gas or a liquid.
  • It must have a definite chemical composition that can be expressed by a chemical formula.
  • It must have a crystal structure that is orderly and repeating.

Based on this definition, it would seem that liquid water does not qualify as a mineral because it is not solid at room temperature. However, there are some arguments to be made in favor of liquid water being classified as a mineral.

Arguments for Liquid Water as a Mineral

Crystal Structure

While liquid water does not have a crystal structure, it can form crystals when it freezes. These ice crystals have an orderly, repeating structure and can be classified as minerals. It can be argued that liquid water is simply the non-crystalline form of this mineral.

Chemical Composition

Water has a chemical formula of H2O, which means it has a definite chemical composition. Additionally, water can contain impurities such as minerals, salts, and other substances that are commonly found in minerals.

Natural Occurrence

Water is a naturally occurring substance, and it is found in many forms throughout the world. It is a common component of minerals such as halite (rock salt) and gypsum.

Counterarguments Against Liquid Water as a Mineral

Not Solid at Room Temperature

As previously mentioned, one of the defining characteristics of a mineral is that it is solid at room temperature. Liquid water does not meet this criterion.

Not an Inorganic Substance

Minerals are inorganic substances, which means they do not contain carbon-hydrogen compounds. Water, on the other hand, is an organic compound because it contains hydrogen and carbon atoms.

The Role of Minerals in Water

While the classification of liquid water as a mineral is debatable, there is no denying the important role that minerals play in the water we drink and use. Minerals are naturally occurring substances that are found in the earth’s crust, and they can dissolve in water. Some common minerals found in water include calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.

The presence of these minerals can affect the taste and quality of water, as well as its health benefits. For example, calcium and magnesium are essential minerals that can contribute to strong bones and teeth. However, high levels of these minerals can also cause hard water, which can damage pipes and appliances.

Common Questions About Liquid Water as a Mineral

  • Q: Why is there a debate about whether or not liquid water is a mineral?
  • A: The definition of a mineral is somewhat open to interpretation, and there are arguments to be made on both sides of the debate.
  • Q: Can liquid water contain minerals?
  • A: Yes, water can contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Q: Does the fact that water can form crystals make it a mineral?
  • A: While the crystals formed by frozen water can be classified as minerals, this does not necessarily mean that liquid water itself is a mineral.
  • Q: Are all liquids considered minerals?
  • A: No, liquids that do not meet the criteria for being a mineral – such as being solid at room temperature – are not considered minerals.


While the debate over whether or not liquid water is a mineral may never be fully resolved, it is clear that minerals play an important role in the water we drink and use. Understanding the science behind minerals and water can help us make informed decisions about our health and the environment.


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