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  • A mineral is a naturally occurring substance that is solid and inorganic representable by a chemical formula, usually abiogenic, and has an ordered atomic structure. It is different from a rock, which can be an aggregate of minerals or non-minerals and does not have a specific chemical composition. The exact definition of a mineral is under debate, especially with respect to the requirement a valid species be abiogenic, and to a lesser extent with regard to it having an ordered atomic structure. The study of minerals is called mineralogy. There are over 4,900 known mineral species; over 4,660 of these have been approved by the International Mineralogical Association. The silicate minerals compose over 90% of the Earth's crust. The diversity and abundance of mineral species is controlled by the Earth's chemistry. Silicon and oxygen constitute approximately 75% of the Earth's crust, which translates directly into the predominance of silicate minerals. Minerals are distinguished by various chemical and physical properties.