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Quartz

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Quartz Silicon dioxide
SiO2

Quartz is the most abundant and most common mineral on the Earth. It is found in almost every geological environment and also it is at least a component of almost every rock type. It has a hexagonal crystal structure and is made of trigonal crystallized silica. It is most varied in terms of varieties, colors and forms.

The most important distinction between the types of quartz is that one is of macrocrystalline, which is individual crystal visible to the unaided eye, and the other is microcrystalline or cryptodrystalline varieties, aggregates of crysstals visible only under high magnification. Chalcedony is the generic term for cryptocrystalline quartz. The transparent variety tends to be macrocrystalline and the cryptocrystalline varieties are either translucent or mostly opaque.

The name "quartz" has been derived from the German "Quarz," a Slavic origin. It is the most common material identified as mystical substance maban in the Australian Aboriginal mythology. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist believed quartz to be a permanently frozen ice. According to him, quartz is found near glaciers in the Alps and that the crystals of quartz were fashioned into spheres to cool the hands. It was also known to him the ability of quartz to split light into a spectrum.

Nicolas Steno's study of quartz made way for the modern crystallography. His discovery states that no matter how distorted a quartz crystal is, the long prism faces always made a perfect 60 degree angle.

Physical Properties of Quartz

Color Clear (in pure form)
Crystal habit 6-sided prism ending in 6-sided pyramid (typical)
Crystal system Trigonal
Cleavage None
Fracture Conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness 7 - lower in impure varieties
Luster Vitreous
Refractive index 1.544-1.553 - Dr +0.009 (B-G interval)
Streak White
Specific gravity 2.65 constant; variable in impure varieties
Melting point 1650 (±75) °C
Boiling point 2230 °C
Solubility H2O insoluble

Molecular Weight of Quartz

Silicon 46.74% (Si) 100.00% (SiO2)
Oxygen 53.26% (O)
100.00% 100.00% = Total Oxide

Major Varieties of Quartz

Chalcedony - Any of the cryptocrystalline quartz, although usually only used for white or lightly colored material.

Agate - Banded Chalcedony, translucent.

Onyx - Agate, where bands are straight, parallel and also consistent in size.

Jasper - Opaque chalcedony, impure.

Aventurine - Translucent chalcedony with a smaller inclusions (generally mica), which shimmer.

Tiger's Eye - Fibrous quartz, exhibiting chatoyancy.

Rock Crystal - Clear, colorless.

Ruby Quartz - Crimson glass-like crystal that absorbs vast amounts of solar energy.

Amethyst - Purple, transparent.

Citrine - Yellow to reddish orange, greenish yellow.

Rose Quartz - Pink, translucent, might display diasterism.

Milk Quartz or Snow Quartz - White, translucent to opaque, may display diasterism.

Smoky Quartz - Brown, transparent.

Morion - Dark-brown, opaque.

Carnelian - Reddish orange chalcedony, translucent.

Uses of Quartz

Occurrences of Quartz

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