The matter that we all come into contact with in our daily routines--plastic, steel, paper, water, air--are simply huge numbers of molecules or ions packed into the solid, liquid, or gaseous state. No wonder, then, that the shape or form of many natural objects resemble the shapes of the ions or molecules from which they are constituted. The sheet-like nature of the mineral muscovite (Figure 42), which is similar to vermicullite (a common packing and planting material) is a result of the structure of the anions (flat sheets) that are present in muscovite at the atomic level.


Figure 42. Muscovite.