Silicate minerals

Silicate minerals

The silicate minerals make up the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals. They are classified based on the structure of their silicate ion group. Silicate minerals all contain silicon and oxygen.


Nesosilicates or Isosilicates

Nesosilicates (or orthosilicates) have isolated [SiO4]4−

tetrahedra that are connected only by interstitial cations.


Sorosilicates have isolated double tetrahedra groups with (Si2O7)6− or a ratio of 2:7.


Cyclosilicates, ring silicates, have linked tetrahedra with (SixO3x)2x- or a ratio of 1:3. These exists as 3-member (Si3O9)6-, 4-member (Si4O12)8- and 6-member (Si6O18)12- rings.


Inosilicates, chain silicates, have interlocking chains of silicate tetrahedra with either SiO3, 1:3 ratio, for single chains or Si4O11, 4:11 ratio, for double chains.

Single chain inosilicates

Double chain inosilicates


Phyllosilicates, sheet silicates (from Greek φύλλον phyllon, leaf), form parallel sheets of silicate tetrahedra with Si2O5 or a 2:5 ratio.


Tectosilicates, or "framework silicates", have a three-dimensional framework of silicate tetrahedra with SiO2 or a 1:2 ratio. This group comprises nearly 75% of the crust of the Earth. Tectosilicates with the exception of the quartz group are aluminosilicates.


  • Deer, W.A.; Howie, R.A., & Zussman, J. (1992). An introduction to the rock forming minerals. 2nd edition, London: Longman.
  • Deer, W.A.; Howie, R.A., Wise, W.S. & Zussman, J. (2004). Rock-forming minerals. Volume 4B. Framework silicates: silica minerals. Feldspathoids and the zeolites. 2nd edition, London: Geological Society of London.
  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S. (1966). Dana's Manual of Mineralogy. 17th edition,
  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis (1985). Manual of Mineralogy. 20th edition,

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