Dogtooth Calcite a Cave Formation
Dogtooth calcite also known as dog-tooth spar is a speleothem or cave formation made up of large and often sharp crystals which bear a resemblance (apparently) to dogs' teeth hence the name. Calcite is one of the most abundant and varied minerals on Earth and there are more than 300 different types of crystal formation of which dog-tooth is one.
In mineralogy spar is a generic term for any transparent to translucent usually light-coloured and vitreous, crystalline mineral.
The crystals in dogtooth calcite grow very slowly over long periods of time in large open cavities often underground in limestone caves although they can also be found in veins, fractures and geodes. It takes billions of 'unit cells' to form one visible crystal.
Speleothem comes from the Ancient Greek word for "cave deposit" and the formations which include stalactites, stalagmites and many others form through precipitation which is a process whereby minerals come out of water. A layer of crystalline calcite lies beneath the top layer of the crystal points in dogtooth spar.
Although occasionally described as "dogs tooth" the correct name of this speleothem is dogtooth calcite or spar.
Zoom in even closer and see more of the detail in this dogtooth spar mineral by visiting our page on Flickr.
Weight (grams) : 64.4
Size (cms) : 5.4 x 4.7 x 2.9