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USGS CMG InfoBank: Atomic Structure

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Comment: 06:08 - 07:26 (01:18)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 12. Minerals: The Materials of Earth
Keywords: mineral, "atomic structure", atom, crystal, "chemical bond", ion

Our transcription: The differences between mineral varieties are related to their atomic structure.
The atoms that make up a mineral are perfectly and symmetrically arranged in an almost infinite three-dimensional crystal lattice work.
This structure is held together by a variety of chemical bonds. Individual atoms often occur as electrically charged particles called "ions".
One important bond is formed when these ions combine to neutralize their charges.
This results in the more stable configuration of a crystal structure.
A somewhat analogous situation might be the relationship between loose cinder blocks and a cinder block wall that has been carefully constructed and mortared together.
Both are composed of the same raw material, but the wall is strong and stable because of the way the individual blocks are mortared together.
On an atomic level, each type of mineral has its own unique crystal framework based on an orderly arrangement of bonded atoms.

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