Silicate minerals

Silicate minerals

The silicate minerals make up the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals, constituting approximately 90 percent of the crust of the Earth. They are classified based on the structure of their silicate group. Silicate minerals all contain silicon and oxygen.

Phyllosilicate mineral Chrysocolla


Nesosilicates or orthosilicates

Nesosilicate specimans at Museum of Geology in South Dakota

Nesosilicates (from Greek νησος nēsos, island), or orthosilicates, have isolated (insular) [SiO4]4− tetrahedra that are connected only by interstitial cations. Nickel-Strunz classification: 09.A

Kyanite crystals (unknown scale)


Sorosilicate exhibit at Museum of Geology in South Dakota

Sorosilicates have isolated double tetrahedra groups with (Si2O7)6− or a ratio of 2:7. Nickel-Strunz classification: 09.B


Cyclosilicate specimans at Museum of Geology, South Dakota

Cyclosilicates, or ring silicates, have linked tetrahedra with (SixO3x)2x- or a ratio of 1:3. These exist as 3-member (Si3O9)6-, 4-member (Si4O12)8- and 6-member (Si6O18)12- rings. Nickel-Strunz classification: 09.C


Inosilicates (from Greek ις [genitive: ινος inos], fibre), or chain silicates, have interlocking chains of silicate tetrahedra with either SiO3, 1:3 ratio, for single chains or Si4O11, 4:11 ratio, for double chains. Nickel-Strunz classification: 09.D

Single chain inosilicates

Double chain inosilicates


Phyllosilicates (from Greek φύλλον phyllon, leaf), or sheet silicates, form parallel sheets of silicate tetrahedra with Si2O5 or a 2:5 ratio. Nickel-Strunz classification: 09.E



Tectosilicates, or "framework silicates," have a three-dimensional framework of silicate tetrahedra with SiO2 or a 1:2 ratio. This group comprises nearly 75% of the crust of the Earth. Tectosilicates, with the exception of the quartz group, are aluminosilicates. Nickel-Strunz classification: 09.F and 09.G, 04.DA (Quartz/ silica family)

Lunar Ferroan Anorthosite #60025 (Plagioclase Feldspar). Collected by Apollo 16 from the Lunar Highlands near Descartes Crater.

See also

DirkvdM rocks.jpg Earth sciences portal


  • Deer, W.A.; Howie, R.A., Wise, W.S. & Zussman, J. (2004). Rock-forming minerals. Volume 4B. Framework silicates: silica minerals. Feldspathoids and the zeolites (2nd ed.). London: Geological Society of London. p. 982 pp. 
  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S. (1966). Dana's Manual of Mineralogy (17th ed.). ISBN 0-471-03288-3. 
  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis (1985). Manual of Mineralogy (20th ed.). Wiley. ISBN 0-471-80580-7. 

External links

Media related to Silicates at Wikimedia Commons

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Silicate minerals — ▪ Table Silicate minerals name colour lustre Mohs hardness specific gravity Tectosilicates (three dimensional networks) feldspar (for other examples, see feldspar) orthoclase flesh red, white to pale yellow, red, green vitreous 6–6½ 2.6… …   Universalium

  • silicate mineral — Any of a large group of silicon oxygen compounds that are widely distributed throughout much of the solar system. The silicates make up about 95% of the Earth s crust and upper mantle, occurring as the major constituents of most igneous rocks and …   Universalium

  • Silicate — For the artificial intelligence androids of the 1990s science fiction series , see Silicate (AI) A silicate is a compound containing an anion in which one or more central silicon atoms are surrounded by electronegative ligands. This definition is …   Wikipedia

  • silicate planet — noun a terrestrial planet composed mostly of silicate minerals Syn: silicon planet …   Wiktionary

  • Silicate — Häufige natürliche Erscheinungsform der Silikate: Feldspat …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • silicate — noun Etymology: silicic (acid) Date: 1811 a salt or ester derived from a silicic acid; especially any of numerous insoluble often complex metal salts that contain silicon and oxygen in the anion, constitute the largest class of minerals, and are… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • silicate — silication /sil i kay sheuhn/, n. /sil i kit, kayt /, n. 1. Mineral. any of the largest group of mineral compounds, as quartz, beryl, garnet, feldspar, mica, and various kinds of clay, consisting of SiO2 or SiO4 groupings and one or more metallic …   Universalium

  • silicate — 1. A salt of silicic acid. 2. The term sometimes applied to dental restorations of synthetic porcelain. * * * sil·i·cate sil ə .kāt, sil i kət n a salt or ester derived from a silicic acid esp any of numerous insoluble often complex metal salts… …   Medical dictionary

  • silicate — sil·i·cate || sɪlɪkÉ™t / keɪt n. any of a large number of mineral compounds which form over 90 percent of the rock forming minerals of the earth s crust (Mineralogy); salt of silicic acid (Chemistry) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • silicate — sil•i•cate [[t]ˈsɪl ɪ kɪt, ˌkeɪt[/t]] n. 1) mir any of the largest group of minerals, as quartz, olivine, pyroxene, amphibole, mica, clay, and feldspar, consisting of silicon and oxygen with one or more metals: the basic building block is the… …   From formal English to slang

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