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January-February 2018

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Crystal Growth Phenomena

The crystalline state is the normal, thermodynamically most stable state of solid matter in the universe. The majority of crystals grow by adding atoms to the surface of an initially submicroscopic atomic cluster called a nucleus. Ideally, they grow uniformly and result in macroscopic crystals resembling the drawings in textbooks. Rarely, however, do they reach the perfection of those ideal drawings. Studying the wide array of features developed during growth leads to greater understanding of how crystals grow.


Dr. Carl A. Francis, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is curator at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum.

Jeffrey A. Scovil, a well-known professional mineral photographer, is the author of Photographing Minerals, Fossils, and Lapidary Materials (Geoscience Press, 1996). He is among those featured in The Grandmasters of Mineral Photography (Mineralogical Almanac, 2004).

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