Shapes of Mineral Crystals

Cubic crystals are not always cube shaped! There are many that are shaped like octahedrons (eight faces), and some that are shaped like dodecahedrons (12 faces).
Tetragonal crystals are shaped like cubic crystals but are longer in one direction making shapes like double pyramids and prisms.
Orthorhombic crystals are often shaped like rhombic prisms or dipyramids (two pyramids stuck together). They often look a bit like tetragonal crystals except that they are not square in cross section (when you look at the crystal on end).
Hexagonal crystals often look like six-sided prisms. When you look at the crystal on end, it looks like a hexagon shape in cross section.
Monoclinic crystals look like tetragonal crystals that have been skewed. Often, they form prism shapes and double pyramids.
Triclinic crystals are sometimes very strange shapes! They are usually not symmetrical from one side to the other.



All images are Windows to the Universe Originals

Shapes of Mineral Crystals

Cubic crystals are not always cube shaped! There are many that are shaped like octahedrons (eight faces), and some that are shaped like dodecahedrons (12 faces).
Tetragonal crystals are shaped like cubic crystals but are longer in one direction making shapes like double pyramids and prisms.
Orthorhombic crystals are often shaped like rhombic prisms or dipyramids (two pyramids stuck together). They often look a bit like tetragonal crystals except that they are not square in cross section (when you look at the crystal on end).
Hexagonal crystals often look like six-sided prisms. When you look at the crystal on end, it looks like a hexagon shape in cross section.
Monoclinic crystals look like tetragonal crystals that have been skewed. They often form prism shapes and double pyramids.
Triclinic crystals are sometimes very strange shapes! They are usually not symmetrical from one side to the other.



All images are Windows to the Universe Originals

Shapes of Mineral Crystals

Some mineral crystals have six sides. Others have eight sides, 10 sides, or even more! How many sides do the minerals in your collection have?

These pictures show some of the shapes that minerals can have. Do any of your minerals have these shapes?



()
All images are Windows to the Universe Originals
-->


Last modified July 17, 2007 by Lisa Gardiner.
The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at http://www.windows.ucar.edu/ at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). © The Regents of the University of Michigan. Windows to the Universe® is a registered trademark of UCAR. All Rights Reserved. Site policies and disclaimer