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Minerals are the building blocks of rocks - they make up the solid Earth's crust. Understanding Minerals & Crystals takes a close look at minerals, how they form, why they differ and how to go about identifying them. It begins by examining the nature of atoms and the way they bind together to form minerals with distinctive crystal structures; and it discusses the nature and classification of these crystals, and includes a mineral identification key. The second part of the book contains detailed descriptions of some 80 common and important minerals, including how they were named, their properties, ID pointers, uses and where in the world they are found. All are lavishly illustrated with full-colour photographs. This book will be invaluable to those interested in any of the earth sciences, or in mineral/crystal collecting - from academics and students to general enthusiasts.