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Nacre crystalline surface. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the crystalline structures forming the surface of a piece of nacre (mother-of-pearl) in a nautilus shell. The layered crystal plate structure is at lower left. The interior shell layer in a nautilus consists of this composite material, which is mostly a form of aragonite, a calcium carbonate mineral. Nacre has a very high tensile strength due to a combination of soft organic layers and hard inorganic platelets of aragonite. The nautilus is a marine cephalopod mollusc. Magnification: x1300 when printed at 10 centimetres across.
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