Every mineral can be placed into one of only 15 mineral classes based upon its structure and composition. These are described in detail in Dana's "System of Minerology" and other works, and are reproduced below. Because silicates are by far the most common group, making up approximately 93% of the earth's crust, they are further subdivided based on physical structure.
Source: The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks & Minerals, by Charles W. Chesterman (C)1978 Alfred A. Knopf
- Tectosilicates (Framework Silicates)
- Phyllosilicates (Sheet Silicates)
- Inosilicates (Chain Silicates)
- Cyclosilicates (Ring Silicates)
- Sorosilicates (Double Tetrahedral Silicates)
- Neosilicates (Independent Tetrahedral Silicates)