Abstract: X-ray diffraction of four natural samples of ferrihydrite indicates the presence of crystalline domains within the primary particles. The average diameter of the primary particles (determined from low-angle powder patterns) decreases from 4.1 nm to 2.5 nm as the domain size in the xy-plane (determined by applying the Scherrer equation to the broad  XRD peak at 0.26–0.27 nm) decreases from 1.0 nm to 0.77 nm. The Si content (measured by acid-oxalate extraction) increases from 4.1% to 6.1% as both the domain and particle sizes decrease; other factors, however, are likely to be important in influencing particle size. For one sample of ferrihydrite, the smallest possible domain (i.e., c = 0.94 nm in the z-direction) contains 36 O atoms and three Si atoms. A model for ferrihydrite is suggested in which silicate bonds to, and bridges, the surfaces of the domains. The model can account for several aspects of the behavior of siliceous ferrihydrites.