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Is Quartz an Element?



Quartz is not an element.

More Info: Despite it being one of the most common minerals, quartz is not an element.  An element is a substance made exclusively of only one type of atom.  Gold is an element, as are silver, iron, potassium and carbon.  To date, there are 118 elements in nature, all of which are composed of a single type of atom.

Quartz is a mineral, meaning it is natural, non-living substance that is non-reactive at room temperature.  Quartz is composed of two oxygen atoms combined with one silica atom, with the chemical formula of SiO2.  This combination of two different atoms keeps quartz from being an element.

Forms of Quartz

The macro crystalline forms of quartz are probably the best known.  Rose quartz, amethyst and milky quartz demonstrate the six-sided prisms so popular with collectors.  The crystals in these quartz types are easily seen with the unaided eye.  These forms of quartz developed deep in the earth where heat and plenty of silica-laden water allowed the crystals to grow unimpeded.

Microcrystalline forms do not exhibit typical quartz crystals.  Agate, onyx and jasper are types of quartz that formed in areas without the necessary space or time for large crystal development.

Location of Quartz

Quartz forms in all three types of rocks – igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.  Due to its hardness, quartz is relatively impervious to weathering and erosion.  Grains of quartz are found from the tops of mountains to the sand of beaches.  After feldspar, quartz is the most common mineral scattered over the crust of the Earth.



“Quartz Mineral | Photos, Uses, Properties, Pictures – GEOLOGY.COM.” News and Information for Geology & Earth Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <

“The Nature of Quartz.” Henderson State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <>.

“Quartz.” Georgia State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <>.

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