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This page kindly sponsored by Dragon Minerals
Colorless, Purple, Rose, ...
Quartz has been known and appreciated since pre-historic times. The most ancient name known is recorded by Theophrastus in about 300-325 BCE, κρύσταλλος or kristallos. The varietal names, rock crystal and bergcrystal, preserve the ancient usage. The root words κρύοσ signifying ice cold and στέλλειυ to contract (or solidify) suggest the ancient belief that kritallos was permanently solidified ice.

The earliest printed use of "querz" was anonymously published in 1505, but attributed to a physician in Freiberg, Germany, Ulrich Rülein von Kalbe (a.k.a. Rülein von Calw, 1527). Agricola used the spelling "quarzum" (Agricola 1530) as well as "querze", but Agricola also referred to "crystallum", "silicum", "silex", and silice". Tomkeieff (1941) suggested an etymology for quartz: "The Saxon miners called large veins - Gänge, and the small cross veins or stringers - Querklüfte. The name ore (Erz, Ertz) was applied to the metallic minerals, the gangue or to the vein material as a whole.

In the Erzgebirge, silver ore is frequently found in small cross veins composed of silica. It may be that this ore was called by the Saxon miners 'Querkluftertz' or the cross-vein-ore. Such a clumsy word as 'Querkluftertz' could easily be condensed to 'Querertz' and then to 'Quertz', and eventually become 'Quarz' in German, 'quarzum' in Latin and 'quartz' in English." Tomkeieff (1941, q.v.) noted that "quartz", in its various spellings, was not used by other noted contemporary authors. "Quartz" was used in later literature referring to the Saxony mining district, but seldom elsewhere.

Gradually, there were more references to quartz: E. Brown in 1685 and Johan Gottschalk Wallerius in 1747. In 1669, Nicolaus Steno (Niels Steensen) obliquely formulated the concept of the constancy of interfacial angles in the caption of an illustration of quartz crystals. He referred to them as "cristallus" and "crystallus montium".

Tomkeieff (1941) also noted that Erasmus Bartholinus (1669) used the various spellings for "crystal" to signify other species than quartz and that crystal could refer to other "angulata corpora" (bodies with angles): "In any case in the second half of the XVIIIth century quartz became established as a name of a particular mineral and the name crystal became a generic term synonymous with the old term 'corus angulatum'."
Isostructural with:
Quartz is the most common mineral found on the surface of the Earth. A significant component of many igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, this natural form of silicon dioxide is found in an impressive range of varieties and colours. There are many names for different varieties: Cryptocrystalline varieties of quartz are listed separately under chalcedony, and include agate.

Visit for gemological information about Quartz.

Classification of Quartz

Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"

4 : OXIDES (Hydroxides, V[5,6] vanadates, arsenites, antimonites, bismuthites, sulfites, selenites, tellurites, iodates)
D : Metal: Oxygen = 1:2 and similar
A : With small cations: Silica family
Dana 7th ed.:

75 : TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
1 : Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with [4] coordinated Si

7 : Oxides and Hydroxides
8 : Oxides of Si URL:
Please feel free to link to this page.

Occurrences of Quartz

Geological Setting:
Most of them...

Physical Properties of Quartz

Diaphaneity (Transparency):
Transparent, Translucent
Colorless, Purple, Rose, Red, Black, Yellow, Brown, Green, Blue, Orange, etc.
Hardness (Mohs):
Hardness Data:
Mohs hardness reference species
Some variability by direction.
The rhombohedral cleavage r{1011} is most often seen, there are at least six others reported.
Tough when massive
2.65 - 2.66 g/cm3 (Measured)    2.66 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Crystallography of Quartz

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
3 2 - Trapezohedral
Space Group:
P31 2 1
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.9133Å, c = 5.4053Å
a:c = 1 : 1.1
Unit Cell Volume:
V 113.00 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Typically long prismatic with steep pyramidal terminations, but may be short prismatic to bipyramidal, or needle-like; massive material (especially agate & chalcedony) may be microscopically fibrous.
Dauphiné law.
Brazil law.
Japan law.
Others for beta-quartz...
Right-handed Dauphiné law twin
Left-handed Dauphiné law twin
Typical irregular intergrowth of Dauphiné law twin domains
Right-handed Dauphiné law twin
Left-handed Dauphiné law twin
Typical irregular intergrowth of Dauphiné law twin domains
Right-handed Dauphiné law twin
Left-handed Dauphiné law twin
Typical irregular intergrowth of Dauphiné law twin domains
Dauphiné law twin with re-entrant angles (rare)
Japan law twin
Dauphiné law twin with re-entrant angles (rare)
Japan law twin
Dauphiné law twin with re-entrant angles (rare)
Japan law twin

Crystallographic forms of Quartz

Crystal Atlas:
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Quartz no.5 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.7 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.9 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.10 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.12 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.23 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.35 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.46 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.47 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.96 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Quartz no.121 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
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Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

Crystal Structure

Kihara K (1990) An X-ray study of the temperature dependence of the quartz structure Sample: at T = 298 K. European Journal of Mineralogy 2:63-77.

Unit Cell | Structure | Polyhedra

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More Crystal Structures
Click here to view more crystal structures at the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction Data:
4.257 (22)
3.342 (100)
2.457 (8)
2.282 (8)
1.8179 (14)
1.5418 (9)
1.3718 (8)

Optical Data of Quartz

Uniaxial (+)
RI values:
nω = 1.543 - 1.545 nε = 1.552 - 1.554
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.009
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
low, 0.009
Varieties colored by trace elements built into the crystal lattice, as opposed to varieties colored by inclusions, generally show dichroism: smoky quartz, amethyst, citrine, prasiolite, "rose quartz in crystals" (a.k.a. pink quartz).

Chemical Properties of Quartz

All elements listed in formula:
Common Impurities:

Relationship of Quartz to other Species

4.DA.Carbon Dioxide IceCO2
4.DA.10OpalSiO2 · nH2O
4.DA.25Melanophlogite46SiO2 · 6(N2,CO2) · 2(CH4,N2)
7.8.7Silhydrite3SiO2 · H2O
7.8.8OpalSiO2 · nH2O

Other Names for Quartz

Name in Other Languages:
Bosnian (Latin Script):Kvarc
Irish Gaelic:Grian Cloch
Norwegian (Bokmål):Kvarts
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Кварц
Simplified Chinese:石英
Slovenian:Kamena strela
Traditional Chinese:石英
Vietnamese:Thạch anh

Other Information

piezoelectric, pyroelectric, may be triboluminescent.
Thermal Behaviour:
Transforms to beta-quartz at 573 deg C and 1 bar (100 kPa) pressure.
Health Risks:
Quartz is usually quite harmless unless broken or powdered. Broken crystals and masses may have razor-sharp edges that can easily cut skin and flesh. Handle with care. Do not grind dry since long-term exposure to finely ground powder may lead to silicosis.
Industrial Uses:
Ore for silicon, glassmaking, frequency standards, optical instruments, silica source for concrete setting, filtering agents as sand. Major component of sand.

References for Quartz

Reference List:
Rülein von Calw, U. (1527) Querz. in Ein nützilch Bergbüchlin: von allen Metallen / als Golt / Silber / Zcyn / Kupferertz / Eisenstein / Bleyertz / und vom Quecksilber, Loersfelt (Erffurd) 25, 38.

Agricola, G. (1530) Quarzum. in Bermannus, Sive De Re Metallica, in aedibus Frobenianis (Basileae) 88, 129.

Agricola, G. (1546) Book V. Quartz. in De Natura Fossilium, Froben (Basileae) 249-275.

Hoffmann, C.A.S. (1789) Mineralsystem des Herrn Inspektor Werners mit dessen Erlaubnis herausgegeben von C.A.S. Hoffmann. Bergmännisches Journal: 1: 369-398.

Tomkeieff, S.I. (1941) Origin of the Name 'Quartz'. Mineralogical Magazine: 26: 172-178.

Chapman, C.A. (1950) Quartz veins formed by metamorphic differentiation of aluminous schists. American Mineralogist: 35: 693-710.

Frondel, C. (1962) Dana's System of Mineralogy, 7th Edition: Vol. III.

Blatt, H., Christie, J.M. (1963) Undulatory extinction in quartz of igneous and metamorphic rocks and its significance in provenance studies of sedimentary rocks. Journal of Sedimentary Research: 33: 559-579.

Bloss, F.D., Gibbs, G.V. (1963) Cleavage in quartz. American Mineralogist: 48: 821-838.

Dennen, W.H. (1966) Stoichiometric substitution in natural quartz. Geochichimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 30: 1235-1241.

Carstens, H. (1968) The lineage structure of quartz crystals. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 18: 295-304.

Kushiro, I. (1969) The system forsterite-diopside-silica with and without water at high pressures. American Journal of Science: 267: 269-294.

Rice, S.J. (1969) Quartz family minerals. California Division of Mines and Geology Mineral Information Service: 22: 35-38.

Feigl, F.J., Anderson, J.H. (1970) Defects in crystalline quartz: electron paramagnetic resonance of E' vacancy centers associated with germanium impurities. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids: 31: 575-596.

Scott, S.D., O'Connor, T.P. (1971) Fluid inclusions in vein quartz, Silverfields Mine, Cobalt, Ontario. The Canadian Mineralogist 11, 263-271.

Bates, J.B., Quist, A.S. (1972) Polarized Raman spectra of β-quartz. The Journal of Chemical Physics: 56: 1528-1533.

Barron, T.H.K, Huang, C.C., Pasternak, A. (1976) Interatomic forces and lattice dynamics of α-quartz. Journal of Physics C: Solid State Physics: 9: 3925-3940.

Le Page, Y., Donnay, G. (1976) Refinement of the crystal structure of low-quartz. Acta Crystallographica: B32: 2456-2459.

Sprunt, E.S. (1981) Causes of quartz cathodoluminescence colours. Scanning Electron Microscopy: 525-535.

Wright, A.F., Lehmann, M.S. (1981) The structure of quartz at 25 and 590°C determined by neutron diffraction. Journal of Solid State Chemistry: 36: 371-380.

Bohlen, S.R., Boettcher, A.L. (1982) The quartz-coesite transformation: a precise determination and the effects of other components. Journal of Geophysical Research: 87(B8): 7073-7078.

Richet, P., Bottinga, Y., Deniélou, L., Petitet, J.P., Téqui, C. (1982) Thermodynamic properties of quartz, cristobalite, and amorphous SiO2: drop calorimetry measurements between 1000 and 1800 K and a review from 0 to 2000 K. Geochimica et Cosmochmica Acta: 46: 2639-2658.

Serebrennikov, A.J., Valter, A.A., Mashkovtsev, R.I., Scherbakova, M.Ya. (1982) The investigation of defects in shock-metamorphosed quartz. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 8: 155-157.

Scandale, E., Stasi, F., Zarka, A. (1983) Growth defects in a Quartz Druse. ac Dislocations. Journal of Applied Crystallography: 16: 39-403.

Barker, C., Robinson, S.J. (1984) Thermal release of water from natural quartz. American Mineralogist: 69: 1078-1081.

Weil, J.A. (1984) A review of electron spin resonance and its applications to the study of paramagnetic defects in crystalline quartz. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 10: 149-165.

Scandale, E., Stasi, F. (1985) Growth defects in Quartz Druses. a Pseudo-basal Dislocations. Journal of Applied Crystallography: 18: 275-278.

Jayaraman, A., Wood, D.L., Maines, R.G. (1987) High-pressure Raman study of the vibrational modes in AlPO4 and SiO2 (α-quartz). Physical Review B: 35: 8316-8321.

Graziani, G., Lucchesi, S., Scandale, E. (1988) Growth defects and genetic medium of a quartz druse from Traversella,Italy. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Abhandlungen: 159: 165-179.

Owen, M.R. (1988) Radiation-damage halos in quartz. Geology: 16: 529-532.

Ramseyer, K., Baumann, J., Matter, A., Mullis, J. (1988) Cathodoluminescence colours of α-quartz. Mineralogical Magazine: 52: 669-677.

Sowa, H. (1988) The oxygen packings of low-quartz and ReO3 under high pressure. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 184: 257-268.

Drees, L.R., Wilding, L.P., Smeck, N.E., Senkayi, A.L. (1989) Silica in soils: quartz and disordered silica polymorphs. in Minerals in Soil Environments, Editor S B Weed. Soil Science Society of America (Madison Wisconsin, USA) 913-974.

Dubrovinskii, L.S., Nozik, Y.Z. (1989) Calculation of the anisotropic thermal parameters of the atoms of α-quartz. Soviet Physics - Doklady: 34: 484-485.

Hazen, R.M. ,Finger, L.W., Hemley, R.J., Mao, H.K. (1989) High-pressure crystal chemistry and amorphization of α-quartz. Solid State Communications: 72: 507-511.

Scandale, E., Stasi, F., Lucchesi, S., Graziani, G. (1989) Growth marks and genetic conditions in a quartz druse. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Abhandlungen: 160: 181-192.

Rao, P.S., Weil, J.A., Williams, J.A.S. (1989) EPR investigation of carbonaceous natural quartz single crystals. The Canadian Mineralogist: 27: 219-224.

Dove, P.M., Crerar, D.A. (1990) Kinetics of quartz dissolution in electrolyte solutions using a hydrothermal mixed flow reactor. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 54: 955-969.

Kihara, K. (1990) An X-ray study of the temperature dependence of the quartz structure. European Journal of Mineralogy: 2: 63-77.

Chernosky, J.V., Berman, R.G. (1991) Experimental reversal of the equilibrium andalusite + calcite + quartz = anorthite + CO2. The Canadian Mineralogist: 29: 791-802.

Cordier, P., Doukhan, J.C. (1991) Water speciation in quartz: A near infrared study. American Mineralogist: 76: 361-369.

Heaney, P.J., Veblen, D.R. (1991) Observations of the alpha-beta phase transition in quartz: A review of imaging and diffraction studies and some new results. American Mineralogist: 76: 1018-1032.

Lüttge, A., Metz, P. (1991) Mechanism and kinetics of the reaction 1 dolomite + 2 quartz = 1 diopside + 2 CO2 investigated by powder experiments. The Canadian Mineralogist: 29: 803-821.

Agrosì, G., Lattanzi, P., Ruggieri, G., Scandale, E. (1992) Growth history of a quartz crystal from growth marks and fluid inclusions data. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Monatshefte: 7: 289-294.

Glinnemann, J., King, H.E., Schulz, H., Hahn, T., La Placa, S.J., Dacol, F. (1992) Crystal structures of the low-temperature quartz-type phases of SiO2 and GeO2 at elevated pressure. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 198: 177-212.

Lentz, D.R., Fowler, A.D. (1992) A dynamic model for graphic quartz-feldspar intergrowths in granitic pegmatites in the southwestern Grenville Province. The Canadian Mineralogist: 30: 571-585.

Rink, W.J., Rendell, H., Marseglia, E.A., Luff, B.J., Townsend, P.D. (1993) Thermoluminescence spectra of igneous quartz and hydrothermal vein quartz. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 20: 353-361.

Berti G.(1994) Microcrystalline properties of quartz by means of XRPD measures. Adv. X-Ray Analysis: 37:359-366.

Heaney, P.J., Gibbs, G.V., editors (1994) Reviews in Mineralogy vol 29 Silica: Physical behaviour, geochemistry and materials applications; Mineralogical Society of America. 606pp.

Langenhorst, F. (1994) Shock experiments on pre-heated α- and β-quartz: II. X-ray and TEM investigations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 128: 683-698.

Swamy, V., Saxena, S.K., Sundman, B., Zhang, J. (1994) A thermodynamic assessment of silica phase diagram. Journal of Geophysical Research 99, 11787-11794.

Onasch, C.M., Vennemann, T.W. (1995) Disequilibrium partitioning of oxygen isotopes associated with sector zoning in quartz. Geology: 23: 1103-1106.

Rykart, R. (1995) Quarz-Monographie - Die Eigenheiten von Bergkristall, Rauchquarz, Amethyst, Chalcedon, Achat, Opal und anderen Varietäten. Ott-Verlag, Thun.

Stevens Kalceff, M.A., Phillips, M.R. (1995) Cathodoluminescence microcharacterization of the defect structure of quartz. Physics Review: B: 52: 3122-3134.

Plötze, M., Wolf, D. (1996) EPR- und TL-Spektren von Quartz: Bestrahlungsabhängigkeit der [TiO4 -/Li +] 0-Zentren. Bericht derJahrestagung der Deutschen Mineralogischen Gesellschaft: 8: 217 (abstr.).

Gaines, R.V., Skinner, C.H>W., Foord, E.E., Mason, B., Rosenzweig, A., King, V.T. (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, 8th. edition: 1573.

Carpenter, M.A., Salje, E.K.H., Gaeme-Barber, A., Wruck, B., Dove, M.T., Knight, K.S. (1998) Calibration of excess thermodynamic properties and elastic constant variations associated with the α ↔ β phase transition in quartz. American Mineralogist: 83: 2-22.

Von Goerne, G., Franz, G., Robert, J.L. (1999) Upper thermal stability of tourmaline + quartz in the system MgO–Al2O3–SiO2–B2O3–H2O and Na2O–MgO–Al2O3–SiO2–B2O3–H2O–HCl in hydrothermal solutions and siliceous melts. The Canadian Mineralogist: 37: 1025-1039.

Götze, J., Plötze, M., Fuchs, H., Habermann, D. (2001) Origin, spectral characteristics and practical applications of the cathodoluminescence (CL) of quartz - a review. Mineralogy and Petrology: 71: 225-250.

Skála R., Hörz F. (2001) Unit-cell dimensions of experimentally shock-loaded quartz revisited. Meteoritics & Planetary Science: 36: 192-193.

Monger, H.C., Kelly, E.F. (2002) Silica minerals. in Soil Mineralogy with Environmental Applications, Soil Science Society of America (Madison Wisconsin, USA) 611-636.

Rodgers, K.A., Hampton, W.A. (2003) Laser Raman identification of silica phases comprising microtextural components of sinters. Mineralogical Magazine: 67: 1-13.

Botis, S., Nokhrin, S.M., Pan, Y., Xu, Y., Bonli, T. (2005) Natural radiation-induced damage in quartz. I. Correlations between cathodoluminescence colors and paramagnetic defects. The Canadian Mineralogist: 43: 1565-1580.

Dove, P.M., Han, N., De Yoreo, J.J. (2005) Mechanisms of classical crystal growth theory explain quartz and silicate dissolution behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: 102: 15357-15362.

Götze, J., Plötze, M., Trautmann, T. (2005) Structure and luminescence characteristics of quartz from pegmatites. American Mineralogist: 90: 13-21.

Choudhury, N., Chaplot, S.L. (2006) Ab initio studies of phonon softening and high-pressure phase transitions of α-quartz SiO2. Physical Review B: 73: 094304-11.

Enami, M., Nishiyama, T., Mouri, T. (2007) Laser Raman microspectrometry of metamorphic quartz: a simple method for comparison of metamorphic pressures. American Mineralogist: 92: 1303-1315.

Hebert L.B., Rossman G.R. (2008) Greenish quartz found at the Thunder Bay Amethyst Mine Panorama, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Mineralogist: 46: 111-124.

Baur, W.H. (2009) In search of the crystal structure of low quartz. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 224: 580-592.

Botis, S.M., Pan, Y. (2009) Theoretical calculations of [AlO4/M+]0 defects in quartz and crystal-chemical controls on the uptake of Al. Mineralogical Magazine: 73: 537-550.

Korsakov, A.V., Perraki, M., Zhukov, V.P., De Gussem, K., Vandenabeele, P., Tomilenko, A.A. (2009) Is quartz a potential indicator of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism? Laser Raman spectroscopy of quartz inclusions in ultrahigh-pressure garnets. European Journal of Mineralogy: 21: 1313-1323.

Thompson, R.M., Downs, R.T. (2010) Packing systematics of the silica polymorphs: The role played by O-O nonbonded interactions in the compression of quartz. American Mineralogist: 95: 104-111.

Seifert, W., Rhede, D., Thomas, R., Forster, H.-J., Lucassen, F., Dulski, P., Wirth, R. (2011) Distinctive properties of rock-forming blue quartz: inferences from a multi-analytical study of submicron mineral inclusions. Mineralogical Magazine: 75: 2519-2534.

Götze, J., Möckel, R., editors (2012) Quartz: Deposits, Mineralogy and Analytics. Springer-Verlag.

Henn, U., Schultz-Guettler, R. (2012) Review of some current coloured quartz varieties. Journal of Gemmology: 33(1-4): 29-43.

Zhang, S., Liu, Y. (2014) Molecular-level mechanisms of quartz dissolution under neutral and alkaline conditions in the presence of electrolytes. Geochemical Journal: 48(2): 189-205.

Eder, S.D., Fladischer, K., Yeandel, S.R., Lelarge, A., Parker, S.C., Søndergård, E., Holst, B. (2015) A giant reconstruction of α-quartz (0001) interpreted as three domains of nano Dauphine twins. Nature, Scientific Reports: 5: 14545. doi: 10.1038/srep14545

Frelinger, S.N., Ledvina, M.D., Kyle, J.R., Zhao, D. (2015) Scanning electron microscopy cathodoluminescence of quartz: Principles, techniques and applications in ore geology. Ore Geology Reviews: 65: 840-852.

Skalwold, E.A., Bassett, W.A. (2015) Quartz: a bull’s eye on optical activity. Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, VA, 16 pages. ISBN 978-0-939950-00-3 [booklet, abstract and free download on the MSA website:]

Skalwold, E.A., Bassett, W.A. (2015) Double trouble: navigating birefringence. Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, VA, 20 pages. ISBN 978-0-939950-02-7 [booklet, abstract and free download on the MSA website:]

Calvo, M. (2016) Minerales y Minas de España. Vol VIII. Cuarzo y otros minerales de la sílice. Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Minas de Madrid. Fundación Gómez Pardo. 399pp. (in Spanish)

Internet Links for Quartz

The following Quartz specimens are currently listed for sale on

Localities for Quartz

map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.
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