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How do crystals form?

Crystals usually form from molten rock as the molten rock gradually cools. If the molten rock cools very rapidly, then either small crystals form or no crystals form. An example of this is when lava is ejected from a volcano. If molten rock cools slowly, then large crystals can form. This happens usually when the molten material is very deep in the Earth. Examples of these types of crystals are diamonds, emeralds, rubies, etc.

Crystals can also form when water evaporates. For example, salt crystals (sodium chloride) form when salt water evaporates.

The smooth faces of crystals are caused by a regular internal arrangement of atoms.


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