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Quartz - Sio2


T he Quartz, widely distributed mineral of many varieties that consists primarily of silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2). Minor impurities such as lithium, sodium, potassium, and titanium may be present. Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in Earths crust after feldspar. It occurs in nearly all acid igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. It is an essential mineral in such silica-rich felsic rocks as granites, granodiorites, and rhyolites. It is highly resistant to weatheringand tends to concentrate in sandstones and other detrital rocks. Secondary quartz serves as a cement in sedimentary rocks of this kind, forming overgrowths on detrital grains. Microcrystalline varieties of silica known as chert, flint, agate, and jasper consist of a fine network of quartz. Metamorphism of quartz-bearing igneous and sedimentary rocks typically increases the amount of quartz and its grain size.

Properties

Quartz exists in two forms: (1) Alpha or low, quartz, which is stable up to 573 C (1,063 F), and (2) Beta-, or high, quartz, stable above 573 C. The two are closely related, with only small movements of their constituent atoms during the alpha-beta transition. The structure of beta-quartz is hexagonal, with either a left- or right-handed symmetry group equally populated in crystals. The structure of alpha-quartz is trigonal, again with either a right- or left-handed symmetry group. At the transition temperature the tetrahedral framework of beta-quartz twists, resulting in the symmetry of alpha-quartz; atoms move from special space group positions to more general positions. At temperatures above 867 C (1,593 F), beta-quartz changes into tridymite, but the transformation is very slow because bond breaking takes place to form a more open structure. At very high pressures alpha-quartz transforms into coesiteand, at still higher pressures, stishovite.
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