Crystals have a lattice (grid) of atoms forming
a consistent three-dimensional structure. The
atoms are where they are because it releases
energy for them to be in those positions. The
surface of the crystal, the edge of the lattice,
can incorporate new atoms and molecules on the
side as the lattice expands, which is what causes
crystal growth. Similarly, crystals can dissolve
if it releases energy to take the atoms out of the
lattice. In the case of most minerals, the atoms
are free in a liquid state (either in magma or
dissolved in water), so the cooler the magma or
the more concentrated the water, the more
potential there is for atoms to come out of
solution and join the lattice.
Click Here to return to the search form.