What is silica, what is crystalline silica and what is quartz?

Silica is synonymous with silicon dioxide (SiO2). Silicon and oxygen are the two most abundant elements in the earth’s crust. Silica is commonly found in nature as sand. Silica exists in many different forms that can be crystalline as well as non-crystalline (amorphous).

Crystalline silica is hard, chemically inert and has a high melting point. These are prized qualities in various industrial uses.

Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica and is the second most common mineral on the earth’s surface. It is found in almost every type of rock i.e. igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Since it is so abundant, quartz is present in nearly all mining operations.

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