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amphibole (ămˈfəbōlˌ) [key], any of a group of widely distributed rock-forming minerals, magnesium-iron silicates, often with traces of calcium, aluminum, sodium, titanium, and other elements. The amphibole minerals are closely related in crystal structure, but they crystallize in two different systems, orthorhombic and monoclinic; their close structural relationship is reflected in uniform prism angles of about 56° and 124° and in good cleavages parallel to these prisms. They are commonly green to black, but may be colorless, white, yellow, blue, or brown. The amphibole minerals are found both in igneous and metamorphic rocks. The commonest form is hornblende; other species include anthophyllite, cummingtonite, tremolite, actinolite, riebeckite, and glaucophane. A variety of jade, called nephrite, consists of actinolite in a finely fibrous form.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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