How can the streak test be helpful in identifying minerals?
The color of a mineral when it is powdered is called the streak of the mineral. Crushing and powdering a mineral eliminates some of the effects of impurities and structural flaws, and is therefore more diagnostic for some minerals than their color. Streak can be determined for any mineral by crushing it with a hammer, but it is more commonly (and less destructively) obtained by rubbing the mineral across the surface of a hard, unglazed porcelain material called a streak plate.
The color of the powder left behind on the streak plate is the mineral's streak. The streak and color of some minerals are the same. For others, the streak may be quite different from the color, as for example the red-brown streak of hematite, often a gray to silver-gray mineral. The combination of luster, color, and streak may be enough to permit identification of the mineral.
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When you scratch a rock of any material and scratch it across some tile, it would leave a distinct colour, which depends on the type of mineral present in the rock. Minerals have distinct colour characteristic thus the streak test can be used to identify rocks.