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TITLE: Crystal Growth

[Photo: Various Crystals]

All these mineral crystals grew naturally within the Earth. The keys to their varied forms—whether they are cubes, needles, blades, or a myriad of other shapes—lie inside them.

Different kinds of atoms arrange themselves in particular patterns, determining each crystal's basic shape. As crystals grow, differences in temperature and chemical composition cause fascinating variations.

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits