Asbestos is a term applied to any of several varieties of silky or finely fibrous, flexible, relatively refractory minerals. Asbestos occurs principally in veins transecting ultramafic igneous rocks; minor amounts occur in siliceous dolomitic marbles and low-grade schists and meta-ironstones. The fibers may be aligned normal or somewhat inclined to the walls (cross fiber) or parallel to the walls (slip fiber).
Chrysotileserpentine is the chief source of asbestos, constituting approximately 95% of the world production (Bowles, 1959); but several species of amphibole asbestos occur. These latter include amosite (a fibrous member of the cummingtonite - grunerite series), tremolite - actinolite , crocidolite (a fibrous member of the riebeckite - magnesioriebeckite series), and, rarely, anthophyllite and eckermannite .
Chrysotile, like other serpentineminerals, is a phyllosilicate (q.v.); the structure consists of two basic units, a pseudohexagonal sheet composed of Si-O tetrahedra (each...
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