Articles | Volume 34, issue 6
Research article
01 Nov 2022
Research article |  | 01 Nov 2022

TotBlocks: exploring the relationships between modular rock-forming minerals with 3D-printed interlocking brick modules

Derek D. V. Leung and Paige E. dePolo

Related authors

GC Insights: The crystal structures behind mineral properties – a case study of using TotBlocks in an undergraduate optical mineralogy lab
Derek D. V. Leung and Paige E. dePolo
Geosci. Commun., 6, 125–129,,, 2023
Short summary

Related subject area

New minerals and systematic mineralogy
Regerite, KFe6(PO4)4(OH)7(H2O)6  ⋅  4H2O, the first new mineral species from the Kreuzberg pegmatite, Pleystein, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, Germany
Christian Rewitzer, Rupert Hochleitner, Ian E. Grey, Anthony R. Kampf, Stephanie Boer, and Colin M. MacRae
Eur. J. Mineral., 35, 805–812,,, 2023
Short summary
Batoniite, [Al8(OH)14(H2O)18](SO4)5  ⋅  5H2O, a new mineral with the [Al8(OH)14(H2O)18]10+ polyoxocation from the Cetine di Cotorniano Mine, Tuscany, Italy
Daniela Mauro, Cristian Biagioni, Jiří Sejkora, Zdeněk Dolníček, and Radek Škoda
Eur. J. Mineral., 35, 703–714,,, 2023
Short summary
Hochleitnerite, [K(H2O)]Mn2(Ti2Fe)(PO4)4O2(H2O)10  ⋅  4H2O, a new paulkerrite-group mineral, from the Hagendorf-Süd pegmatite, Oberpfalz, Bavaria, Germany
Ian E. Grey, Erich Keck, Anthony R. Kampf, Colin M. MacRae, Robert W. Gable, William G. Mumme, Nicholas C. Wilson, Alexander M. Glenn, and Cameron Davidson
Eur. J. Mineral., 35, 635–643,,, 2023
Short summary
Nomenclature of the triphylite group of minerals
Lyudmila M. Lyalina, Ekaterina A. Selivanova, and Frédéric Hatert
Eur. J. Mineral., 35, 427–437,,, 2023
Short summary
Pseudo-cubic trigonal pyrite from the Madan Pb–Zn ore field (Rhodope Massif, Bulgaria): morphology and twinning
Yves Moëlo
Eur. J. Mineral., 35, 333–346,,, 2023
Short summary

Cited articles

Angel, R. J. and Burnham, C. W.: Pyroxene-pyroxenoid polysomatism revisited: A clarification, Am. Mineral., 76, 900–903, 1991. 
Bailey, S. W.: Summary of recommendations of AIPEA nomenclature committee on clay minerals, Am. Mineral., 65, 1–7, 1980. 
Bailey, S. W., Frank-Kamenetskii, V. A., Goldztaub, S., Kato, A., Pabst, A., Schulz, H., Taylor, H. F. W., Fleischer, M., and Wilson, A. J. C.: Report of IMA–IUCr joint committee on nomenclature, Acta Crystallogr. A, 33, 681–684,, 1977. 
Barak, P. and Nater, E. A.: The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules: molecular visualization in a virtual hands-on museum, J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ., 24, 67–71, 2005. 
Brauner, K. and Preisinger, A.: Structur und entstehung des sepioliths, Tsh. Min. Pet. Mitt., 6, 120–140,, 1956. 
Short summary
Minerals have complex crystal structures, but many common minerals are built from the same chemical building blocks. TotBlocks is a novel, open-source tool for investigating these structures. It consists of 3D-printed modules representing the silica tetrahedra and metal–oxygen octahedra that form the shared chemical building blocks of rock-forming minerals. TotBlocks is a low-cost visualization tool that relates mineral properties (habit, cleavage, and symmetry) to crystal structures.