serpentine


serpentine

Any of a group of magnesium-rich silicate minerals whose composition resembles MgSiO(OH). Serpentine generally occurs in three forms: as chrysotile, the most common variety of asbestos; and as antigorite or lizardite, both of which are commonly massive and fine-grained. Named in allusion to its resemblance to a snake's skin, serpentine is usually grayish, white, or green but may be yellow or green-blue. It takes a high polish and is sometimes used as an ornamental stone.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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