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This chapter is an introduction to the science of crystallography, which is a symbolic language for describing repeating patterns in 2-D, 3-D, or any dimension of space one wants. It just so happens that the crystal structures of minerals are repeating patterns in 3-D, and we can take advantage of all the work that has been done to study patterns to help us understand minerals. Much later on in this book, you will have a chance to learn the mathematical basis for everything we talk about, so don’t be fooled: what seems descriptive here is actually a very precise, mathematically-elegant way of describing space.
Topics covered in Chapter 4 include: