Fragment of an Abalone shell; colour enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a section through an abalone (Haliotis sp.) shell. The shell is composed of layers of overlapping platelets of calcium carbonate crystals, or aragonite, Between the layers are thin sheets of protein (not seen). This structure makes the shell much stronger than the materials would be in any other arrangement. Abalones are edible mollusks found in warm seas. The thin layers of shell reflect light using the wave nature of light. Each thin layer reflects a particular wavelength -- together the layers reflect wavelengths of light that constructively interfere to create bright greens and blues. Magnification: x8000 when printed at 10 cm wide.
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