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Mica is a group of metamorphic mineral rock that is characterised by an extraordinarily perfect cleavage. This perfect internal configuration is as a result of the arrangement of atoms of micas. Mica is made popular and considered highly exceptional due to this perfect cleavage within its structure. Originally, mica meant crumb or tiny pieces and this term are used to name this group of rocks as they actually tend to disseminate into crumbs and pieces over time.

Mica, as suggested earlier, is a generic name for a host of similar metamorphic minerals. This gives rise to the need for classification of these many types of rock. Classifications are done by structure and by chemical compositions. Considering its chemical composition the major elements present chemically in mica are sodium, potassium, calcium, aluminium, magnesium and silicon although other elements could also be present in some rare occurrences.

Mica is thus classified chemically based on the chemical arrangements of all this elements within its structure. Structurally mica are classified with less ambiguity, invariably there two structures, which mica takes, and these are di-octahedral and tri-octahedral. Dio-octahedral mica are called brittle mica e.g clintonite while trio-ctahedral structured mica is called common mica e.g. Muscovite. Mica occurs freely in nature and are mined all around the world especially in China, India, U.S.A, Canada and many parts of Europe.

Due to the rarity of large crystals of mica their cost seems to be high so also is their demand though recent discoveries has tackled this problem and created availability. Based on its high electrical stability mica is used heavily in the electrical and electronics industry. Muscovite is the most used type of mica as it is used in the manufacture of capacitors for high frequency applications. Other uses of mica include usage in well drilling, as fillers in the manufacture of rubber products such as tire, in production of automobile paints and in the manufacture of several beauty products such as eye-liners, mascaras, lipstick, lip gloss.

Additional Resources

Metamorphic Rock   Migmatite   Mineralogy

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