Quartz is a mineral composed of silicon and oxygen atoms in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall chemical formula of SiO2. Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in Earth’s continental crust, behind feldspar.
Quartz crystals are chiral, and exist in two forms, the normal α-quartz and the high-temperature β-quartz. The transformation from α-quartz to beta-quartz takes place abruptly at 573°C (846 K). Since the transformation is accompanied by a significant change in volume, it can easily induce fracturing of ceramics or rocks passing through this temperature limit.