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TITLE: Crystal Shapes

[Photo: Crystal Shapes]
Why the great variety of crystal shapes? The 88 naturally occurring elements are made of atoms of different sizes and properties that combine in many ways to form crystals. The huge range of temperatures and pressures within the Earth contributes to this diversity. But the variety is not endless: Certain shapes or variations occur again and again.

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