Quartz is a mineral that abounds in the earth. It is the most common on the earth’s crust after feldspars. The basic composition of this mineral is given by the important presence of silica. We can find it in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Quartz has numerous specific applications within the industry and jewelry. The exploration for its later commercial exploitation is simple since it is easy to recognize with the naked eye.
The name of quartz, which receives this mineral, has its origin in the Greek word krystallos, which means ice. The ancient Greeks believed that, because of their physical characteristics, it was very frozen water and could not be thawed. This is a mineral of varied origin. Quartz crystallizes directly from magma when its magmatic origin is separated into irregular grains, an example of which are granites. During the hydrothermal formation, it is the mineral that appears in veins of greater propagation. It is present in plutonic rocks as well as in hypabyssal (pegmatites and porphyries). Most rocks have quartz as one of its components.
Its chemical formula is SiO2 being its name from the elements that make them, silicon oxide and this compound is the only one that must be present, any other element or compound is considered an impurity. By its structure, we can distinguish two varieties of this mineral: the quartz-? and the quartz-?. The first of these is known as low quartz, its structure is trigonal and can exist at temperatures of up to 573 ° C. Once this thermal mark has been overcome, it is transformed into ?-quartz, whose structure is hexagonal and thus remains until 867 ° C. After that mark it becomes transformed into tridymite, which is also an oxide mineral, but of class 4.
Quartz presents a transparent white color, although on some occasions it can present reflections or veins pink, reddish and even black, depending on the impurities. It has a hardness 7 on the Mohs scale and its fracture is conchoidal. Its density is 2.65 g / cm3 and at 1713 ° C it reaches its melting point.
One of the properties that stands out most is its resistance to weathering. This means in geology that a mineral that has a certain structure in the depths of the earth, such as the lithosphere, is not altered on the surface, in contact with the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere. Its pyro and piezoelectric properties have made it essential in the manufacture of precision electronic instruments, a well-known example is quartz watches. For its part, “quartz crystal” is a fundamental component for the manufacture of large plates used in radio engineering and for the manufacture of glass.
Silicon oxide, the main compound of quartz, is used for the production of cement, ceramics, and glass. On the other hand, this compound has desiccant properties, that is, it has the ability to remove moisture from the places where it is, it is common to find, in the boxes of new electronic devices, sachets containing silicon oxide, to avoid humidity. In the food industry, foods that must be dissolved in water, have silicon oxide in food grade, this compound prevents the formation of lumps. The manufacture of tablets and capsules in the pharmaceutical industry have silicon oxide as one of the main components within the excipients. We can affirm that quartz, in addition to being one of the most widespread minerals on earth, is one of those with the greatest number of practical applications.