FRACTURE

For minerals with less obvious growth habits (see “Habit” display, far left), breaking part of the specimen can yield clues to its underlying structure. When a specimen breaks, it does so based on microscopic patterns of weakness determined by its chemical structure. Minerals that break along regular planes, exposing new crystal faces, exhibit mineral cleavage. Minerals that break in an unpredictable, irregular fashion show classifiable fracture. Not all minerals have the cleavage property, but all minerals exhibit the fracture property if they get chipped.

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Shelf 01

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