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Key People:Norman L. Bowen...(Show more)Related Topics:phyllosilicateinosilicatetectosilicatecyclosilicatenesosilicate...(Show more)

silicate mineral, any of a big group of silicon-oxygen link that space widely distributed throughout lot of the solar system. A quick treatment that silicate minerals follows. For full treatment, see mineral: Silicates.

The silicates make up about 95 percent of earth crust and upper mantle, emerging as the significant constituents of most igneous rocks and also in appreciable quantities in sedimentary and metamorphic varieties as well. They likewise are essential constituents the lunar samples, meteorites, and most asteroids. In addition, planetary probes have detected their incident on the surfaces of Mercury, Venus, and Mars. That the approximately 600 well-known silicate minerals, just a couple of dozen—a group that consists of the feldspars, amphiboles, pyroxenes, micas, olivines, feldspathoids, and also zeolites—are far-ranging in rock formation.



The silicates, owing to their abundance top top Earth, constitute the most important mineral class. Around 25 percent the all recognized minerals...

Structure

The basic structural unit of every silicate mineral is the silicon tetrahedron in i m sorry one silicon atom is surrounding by and bonded come (i.e., combination with) four oxygen atoms, each at the edge of a continuous tetrahedron. These SiO4 tetrahedral units can share oxygen atoms and be connected in a selection of ways, which results in different structures. The topology of these structures develops the basis for silicate classification. For example, nesosilicates room minerals whose framework are made up of elevation silicate tetrahedrons. Sorosilicates are silicate mineral consisting of twin tetrahedral groups in i m sorry one oxygen atom is mutual by 2 tetrahedrons. Cyclosilicates, in contrast, are arranged in rings comprised of three, four, or 6 tetrahedral units. Inosilicates present a single-chain structure wherein every tetrahedron shares 2 oxygen atoms. Phyllosilicates have actually a sheet framework in which every tetrahedron share one oxygen atom with each that three various other tetrahedrons. Tectosilicates show a three-dimensional network the tetrahedrons, with each tetrahedral unit sharing every one of its oxygen atoms.


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The straightforward structural unit of every silicate mineral is the silicon tetrahedron in which one silicon atom is surrounded by and bonded come (i.e., combination with) four oxygen atoms, every at the corner of a continuous tetrahedron.

Details the the affiliation of tetrahedrons came to be known at an early stage in the 20th century when X-ray diffraction make the decision of crystal framework possible. Before this, the category of silicates was based on chemical and physical similarities, which regularly proved to it is in ambiguous. Although numerous properties the a silicate mineral team are identified by tetrahedral linkage, one equally vital factor is the form and place of other atoms in the structure.


Silicate minerals deserve to be assumed of together three-dimensional arrays that oxygen atoms that contain void spaces (i.e., crystallographic sites) where various cations deserve to enter. Besides the tetrahedral (4-fold coordination) sites, 6-fold, 8-fold, and 12-fold sites space common. A correlation exists in between the size of a cation (a positively fee ion) and the form of website it have the right to occupy: the bigger the cation, the higher the coordination, because big cations have more surface area through which the oxygen atoms deserve to make contact. Tetrahedral website are usually occupied by silicon and aluminum; 6-fold web page by aluminum, iron, titanium, magnesium, lithium, manganese, and sodium; 8-fold sites by sodium, calcium, and also potassium; and 12-fold web page by potassium. Facets of comparable ionic size often substitute because that one another. One aluminum ion, for example, is only slightly larger than a silicon ion, permitting substitution because that silicon in both tetrahedral and also 6-fold sites.

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The editors of Encyclopaedia bsci-ch.orgThis write-up was most recently revised and updated through Adam Augustyn.