Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small, usually spheroidal body consisting of radiating crystals, found in obsidian and other glassy lava rocks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a minute spherical crystalline body having a radiated structure, observed in some vitreous volcanic rocks, as obsidian and pearlstone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A minute spherical crystalline body having a radiated structure, observed in some vitreous volcanic rocks, as obsidian and pearlstone.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vitreous globule, such as those of which perlite is made up, having a more or loss perfectly developed concentric and at the same time decidedly radiating fibrous structure. The highly silicious volcanic rocks not unfrequently have a spherulitic structure.
  • n. Same as radiolite, 2.

Etymologies

See sphere (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Hydrodynamic processes, mechanically generated in such minuscule water and dust drops, form the shape of the artefact until it becomes a new atmospheric aerosol particle called iberulite with a vortex, quite similar to a micro spherulite.

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Comments

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  • There are quite a few paleontological terms in the OED that I've chosen not to list, and also many that I have listed, I haven't posted the exact definitions for (and by "posted" I mean "lifted from the OED"). This is an instance of me choosing one from among several similar terms, and then being too lazy to post the exact stuff, like qroqqa went ahead and did. :)

    Thanks, fellas.

    September 16, 2008

  • Actually the OED conflates the genus and the common noun. What it says under 'spherulite' is:

    2. Palæont. (With capital initial.) A genus of fossil molluscs.
    In early use in L. form Sphærulītēs.

    1834 GRIFFITH tr. Cuvier XII. 92 Sphærulites,..where the valves are roughened by irregularly raised plates. 1841 MILLER O.R. Sandst. viii. 153 The hippurites, sphærulites, and nummulites of the same formations, in Greece, Italy, and Spain. 1847 ANSTED Anc. World x. 241 One such genus is called Sphærulite... They seem most nearly allied to the inhabitants of those univalve shells of which the limpet is the present representative.
    OED

    Presumably the 'early' form Sphaerulites had precedence so has been restored as the genus name over Sphaerulite, but the common noun for a member of it (as in their Miller quotation) is 'sphaerulite' or 'spherulite'.

    September 16, 2008

  • No, the genus name is Sphaerulites. (A rare instance of the OED getting it wrong.)

    September 16, 2008

  • In paleontology, a genus of fossil mollusks.

    September 15, 2008