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I have searched through printed books and the Internet, but I cannot find a definitive answer on an issue that fascinates me: what forces keep the various compounds belonging to a solid solution together?

If I correctly understand, a rock is a solid solution, and I know that the atoms of a single mineral species are bound by its particular covalent and ionic bonds, but what keeps different minerals together in a rock? Do they mix by sharing "neighbouring" cations and anions? I am not sure whether intermolecular forces such as Van der Waals forces are present, but I would definitely expect stronger forces in a solid solution or between the minerals of a rock.

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    $\begingroup$ Pure compounds and solutions are held together by the same types of forces. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 20 '15 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ No need to thank it's very general answer, you can see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_solution for some details, and generally rocks aren't solid solutions. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 21 '15 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Nevertheless, I suspect that the forces keeping rocks together are the same that keep solid solutions together: am I wrong? Thank you again! $\endgroup$ – Self-teaching worker Jan 21 '15 at 20:23
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It seems you were on right path - for example common feldspars are solid solutions and they are mixed because they share cations, while they easily substitute one another, otherwise they exsolve - become separate phases. Also you're right that van der Waals forces aren't important here as they are ionic compounds.

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