Acicular (crystal habit)
Acicular, in mineralogy
Mineralogy is the study of chemistry, crystal structure, and physical properties of minerals. Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.-History:Early writing...

, refers to a crystal habit
Crystal habit
Crystal habit is an overall description of the visible external shape of a mineral. This description can apply to an individual crystal or an assembly of crystals or aggregates....

 composed of a radiating mass of slender, needle-like crystals. Minerals with this habit tend to be fragile and complete, undamaged specimens can be uncommon.


Some minerals with an acicular habit include mesolite
Mesolite is a tectosilicate mineral with formula Na2Ca23·8H2O. It is a member of the zeolite group and is closely related to natrolite which it also resembles in appearance....

, natrolite
Natrolite is a tectosilicate mineral species belonging to the zeolite group. It is a hydrated sodium and aluminium silicate with the formula . The type locality is Hohentwiel, Hegau, Germany....

, malachite
Malachite is a copper carbonate mineral, with the formula Cu2CO32. This green-colored mineral crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, and most often forms botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagmitic masses. Individual crystals are rare but do occur as slender to acicular prisms...

, gypsum
Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale...

, rutile
Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide, TiO2.Rutile is the most common natural form of TiO2. Two rarer polymorphs of TiO2 are known:...

, and brochantite
Brochantite is a sulfate mineral, one of a number of cupric sulfates. Its chemical formula is CuSO4·3Cu2. Formed in arid climates or in rapidly oxidizing copper sulfide deposits, it is named for its discoverer, the French geologist and mineralogist, A. J. M...


Differences From Other Habits

Some minerals like creedite
Creedite is a calcium aluminium sulfate fluoro hydroxide mineral with formula: Ca3Al2SO410·2. Creedite forms colorless to white to purple monoclinic prismatic crystals. It often occurs as acicular radiating sprays of fine prisms. It is translucent to transparent with indices of refraction of nα =...

 form prismatic crystals that appear to be acicular, but are instead prismatic in a bladelike form; these can be told apart by the fact that all prismatic crystals are less sharp, sometimes are tipped with a pyramid
A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge at a single point. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or any polygon shape, meaning that a pyramid has at least three triangular surfaces...

al shape, and keep a standard cross-section shape with straight edges. Acicular crystals differ from fibrous crystals in their thickness; crystals with a fibrous habit are much thinner, sometimes to the point of being flexible like hair, while acicular crystals are thicker and rigid.

See also

  • Zeolite
    Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents. The term zeolite was originally coined in 1756 by Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, who observed that upon rapidly heating the material stilbite, it produced large amounts of steam from water that...

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