The silicate minerals make up the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals, constituting approximately 90 percent of the crust of the Earth. They are classified based on the structure of their silicate group. Silicate minerals all contain silicon and oxygen.

Nesosilicates or orthosilicatesEdit

Nesosilicates, or orthosilicates, have isolated (insular) [SiO4]4− tetrahedra that are connected only by interstitial cations.

File:Kyanite crystals.jpg


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


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


Inosilicates, or 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 inosilicatesEdit

Double chain inosilicatesEdit


Phyllosilicates (from Greek φύλλον phyllon, leaf), or sheet silicates, 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.

File:Quartz Crystal.jpg
File:Lunar Ferroan Anorthosite 60025.jpg


  • Deer, W.A.; Howie, R.A., & Zussman, J. (1992). An introduction to the rock forming minerals (2nd edition ed.). 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 ed.). London: Geological Society of London. p. 982 pp. 
  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S. (1966). Dana's Manual of Mineralogy (17th edition ed.). ISBN 0-471-03288-3. 
  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis (1985). Manual of Mineralogy (20th edition ed.), Wiley. ISBN 0-471-80580-7. 

External linksEdit

eo:Silikatmineralojhr:Silikati he:מינרלים סיליקטיים lv:Silikātu minerāls lt:Silikataipt:Silicato (minerais) fi:Silikaattimineraali sv:Silikatmineral