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Amphibole is a group of silicate minerals with prismatic crystal shapes, found in a wide range of geological environments. Its members have varying compositions and applications, making amphiboles significant in both scientific and industrial contexts.

Amphibole. Al Copley photo.

MinDat Amphibole

Amphibole is a group of complex silicate minerals that are characterized by their long, thin, and prismatic crystal shapes. These minerals are part of the larger family of inosilicates, which have a structure composed of chains of linked silicate tetrahedra. Amphiboles have a broad range of compositions, and individual minerals within the group can vary in chemical makeup.

Amphiboles are commonly found in a variety of geological settings, including igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. They often form in response to high-temperature and high-pressure conditions during the Earth’s geological history. Amphiboles can also be a major component of certain types of volcanic rocks and are associated with hydrothermal alteration of minerals.

The amphibole group includes several well-known minerals, such as hornblende, actinolite, tremolite, and anthophyllite, among others. Each of these minerals has slightly different compositions and properties, but they all share the general characteristics of elongated prismatic crystal shapes and a common structural arrangement.

Amphiboles have various applications and are used in fields such as geology, construction, and industry. In geology, the presence of amphiboles in rocks can provide valuable information about the conditions under which the rocks formed and the geological history of a region. In construction, certain types of amphiboles are used as decorative stones and ornamental materials. Asbestos, a type of fibrous amphibole mineral, was used in the past for its heat-resistant properties but is now recognized as a health hazard due to its association with respiratory diseases.