Twinning is not uncommon, the twinplanes M (i io) and g (roi) being the same as in marcasite.
This frequent twinning gives rise to characteristic forms, with many re-entrant angles, to which the names "spear pyrites" and "cockscomb pyrites" are applied.
Twinning is represented only by twinlamellae, which are parallel to the planes m and f and are of secondary origin, having been produced by pressure.
In the article Crystallography the nature and behaviour of twinned crystals receives full treatment; here it is sufficient to say that when the planes and axes of twinning are planes and axes of symmetry, a twin would exhibit higher symmetry (but remain in the same crystal system) than the primary crystal; and, also, if a crystal approximates in its axial constants to 'a higher system, mimetic twinning would increase the approximation, and the crystal would be pseudo-symmetric.
While polysymmetry is solely conditioned by the manner in which the mimetic twin is built up from the single crystals, there being no change in the scalar properties, and the vector properties being calculable from the nature of the twinning, in the case of polymorphism entirely different structures present themselves, both scalar and vector properties being altered; and, in the present state of our knowledge, it is impossible to foretell the characters of a polymorphous modification.
The larger ones polarize light, have angular outlines like those of crystals, and may even show twinning and definite optical properties by which they can be identified as belonging to felspar, augite or some other rock-forming mineral.
Owing to this twinning and the general direction of their courses, the rivers of Siberia offer immense advantages for inland navigation, not only 'from north to south but also from west to east.
Usually they are twinned on a prism plane, M, producing pentagonal stellate groups of five crystals; twinning on the plain g, in which the crystals intercross at angles of nearly 60°, is less common.
Western Kuen-lun and Astin-tagh) is throughout double; and this " twinning " of the mountain-ranges, as also of the intermont lake-basins among the Kuen-lun ranges, is a peculiar feature of the Tibetan plateau.
Twinned crystals are not common, but the presence of polysynthetic twinning is sometimes shown by fine striations running diagonally or obliquely across the cleavage surfaces.
Crystals of blende are of very common occurrence, but owing to twinning and distortion and curvature of the faces, they are often rather complex and difficult to decipher.
Twinning according to the first law is effected by rotation about an axis normal to the sphenoidal face (III), the resulting form resembling the twins of blende and spinel.
Twinning according to the second law can only be explained by reflection across the plane (roi), not by rotation about an axis; chalcopyrite affords an excellent example of this comparatively rare type of symmetric twinning.
Such twins may therefore be mistaken for simple crystals unless they are attentively studied; but the twinning is often made evident by the presence of irregularly bounded areas of the duller z faces coinciding with the brighter r faces.
It is a colourless crystalline substance, assuming forms belonging to the hexagonal system, and distinguished by a well-marked habit of twinning, which occasions the beautiful "ice flowers" displayed by hoar-frost.