Rocks and Minerals
No doubt you’ve found some cool rocks while you’ve been out and about exploring. Not only are they cool to throw across water and play with, but they’re really interesting! Read on for more awesome facts.
What are Rocks and Minerals?
A rock is something solid that occurs naturally, so no man-made influences here. They are actually made of minerals, which are crystalline or other mineral-like substances. A crystalline mineral is something that is made of crystals, and has the same look as crystals. There are different minerals in different rocks, and because of this you find loads of different types of rocks.
All rocks are made from at least two minerals. Minerals however are not made of rocks. One thing interesting about minerals is that they are exactly the same all the way through.
- There are about 3,000 minerals on Earth that we know about. Who knows, there could be way more, and as scientists keep discovering things, we never know what they’ll find.
- Quartz is the most common mineral that is found on Earth. Did you know that Quartz is one of the hardest crystals? They are also used in watches to make sure they keep the time. This is because they vibrate at a very specific rate. How cool is that?
The most common rock found on Earth is basalt. They type of rock forms when lava cools quickly. Most of the ocean floor and the Hawaiian Islands are made of basalt. It is also found on the Moon, Venus and Mars. No wonder it’s so common, as it seems to be everywhere!
- Did you know this? Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on Earth. Wow! How do you think they cut diamonds? Well with another diamond of course as it’s so hard!
- Marble forms from limestone. Limestone has heaps of fossils which are made of calcium carbonate and very tiny shells too. When it is exposed to heat and pressure over a long time it forms metamorphic rock which is marble. Chalk is a soft, white form of limestone.
- Ever heard of breccia? Well this is a large rock which is generally made up of sharp fragments all nicely cemented together.
- Now onto that sparkly, valuable gold. Guess where the biggest pure gold nugget was found? Well it was found in Australia in 1869 and weighed nearly 71kg! That is one massive gold nugget. That person must have been seriously rich after that amazing find!
Gold is really, really soft and as you probably know, one of the most valuable minerals you can find. Perhaps it’s time to go on the hunt for some gold!
- Geodes are plain balls of igneous or sedimentary rock on the outside. But once it gets opened up you’ll be in for a treat as there are stunning crystals on the inside. That would be great to see.
- Feldspar is a word used to describe a very large group of minerals that there are absolutely loads of on Earth. Feldspars make up more than half of the Earth’s crust. Wow!
- Do you know the colour turquoise? Well it has quite an interesting history. The first recorded use of turquoise dates back to 5000BC in Mesopotamia. People used the gemstone lapis lazuli to make beads and jewellery. Lapis lazuli is treasured for its rich blue colour. The ancient Egyptians used powdered lapis lazuli as eye shadow. Wow, imagine using a gemstone to colour your eyes? Sounds pretty weird.
- Jade is also very strong which made it ideal for making things like fish hooks, knives, hammers and axes throughout history.
Rocks and minerals are certainly a lot more than what we just see on the surface. They also give us all sorts of things that we can use them for! Do you have any other cool rocks and minerals facts? Share them with us, we’d love to know.