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What is a Mineral

| Blog | January 3, 2013

What is a Mineral?

What is a Mineral is defined as a naturally occurring substance that is solid and stable at room temperature. A mineral has an ordered atomic structure and is represented by a chemical formula. Minerals are different from rocks which can be an aggregate of minerals or non-minerals and don’t have a specific chemical composition.

Examples of What is a Mineral

What is a Mineral
For more examples of What is a Mineral, see the Mineral Library.

4918 total views, 2 today

Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals

| Blog, Videos | December 19, 2012

Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals

Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals

Watch this short video on Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals. Before video taping, we gave the geode a few hits with a hammer and screwdriver until a crack started to form. Before having it crack any more, I started to film. As you see, a small hit caused the geode to split in two. Unfortunatly, the shiny crystals in this geode are quite small, but it’s a fun experiement to do with kids. As you’ll see at the end, we were left with a few small, but shiny quartz crystals.

 
As stated in Wikipedia, geodes or more or less rounded formations in volcanic (igneous) and sedimentary rocks. Most of the what is inside a geode is quartz or calcite. While there isn’t an exact understanding of how geodes formed,the basic understanding is that the geodes formed from bubbles in volcanic rock or sedimentary, while the crystals formed later, with the slow seeping of mineral-laden water into the bubble.
 
Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals
 
Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals.

32465 total views, 1 today

Rocks and Minerals for Kids

| Blog | December 11, 2012

Rocks and Minerals for Kids

Rocks and Minerals for Kids

Learn about Geology with Rocks and Minerals for Kids.
Can you answer all the questions below successfully? See the Rocks and Minerals questions, then scroll down the page for the answers. See how many you can match correctly. The correct Rocks and Minerals answers are at the very bottom of the page.

Rocks and Minerals Quiz Questions

  1. What is the most abundant element found in the Earth’s crust?
  2. What type of rock is formed when layers of sediment harden over millions and millions of years?
  3. What is the process called where rock and soil are moved by wind, water, ice and gravity?
  4. What type of rock is formed when pressure, liquid and heat transform pre-existing rock?
  5. What is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust?
  6. What type of scientist studies the Earth’s structure, how it is made, and the origins of the planet? Hint, this type of scientist studies rocks, soil, fossils, mountains, and earthquakes.
  7. What is the natural chemical process that breaks down rocks?
  8. What kind of rock is formed from the cooling of molten magma or lava?

 
Rocks and Minerals for Kids
 

Rocks and Minerals Quiz Answers

  • Geologist
  • Igneous Rock
  • Metamorphic Rock
  • Silicon
  • Sedimentary Rock
  • Erosion
  • Oxygen
  • Weathering

 
Rocks and Minerals for Kids
 

Rocks and Minerals Quiz Correct Answers

  1. Oxygen
  2. Sedimentary Rock
  3. Erosion
  4. Metamorphic Rock
  5. Silicon
  6. Geologist
  7. Weathering
  8. Igneous Rock

 
If you correctly answered 7 out of 10 questions or better, you are on your way to understanding the science known as Geology! Rocks and Minerals for Kids is an educational tool to learn more about Rocks and Minerals and Geology.

49900 total views, 120 today

Rock Cycle

| Blog, Videos | December 11, 2012

Rock Cycle

This video is a short explainer about the Rock Cycle and the three types of rocks, Igneous rock, Metamorphic rock and Sedimentary rock, and how those rocks are formed. It is a Geology educational resource for kids and adults.

Sedimentary Rock

Sedimentary rocks form at or near the Earth’s surface. Rocks made from particles of eroded sediment are called clastic sedimentary rocks, rocks made from the remains or living things are called biogenic sedimentary rocks, and those that form by minerals precipitating out of solution are called evaporites. Sandstone is an example of Sedimentary rock.
Rock Cycle

Igneous Rock

Igneous rocks begin as hot, fluid material. The word “igneous” comes from the Latin word for fire. This material may have been lava erupted at the Earth’s surface, or magma at depths below the surface. Basalt is an example of Igneous rock.
Rock Cycle

Metamorphic Rock

Metamorphic rocks form when sedimentary and igneous rocks become changed, or metamorphosed, by conditions below the surface. The four main agents that metamorphose rocks are heat, pressure, fluids and strain. These agents can act and interact in an unlimited variety of ways. As a result, most of the thousands of rare minerals known to science occur in metamorphic (“shape-changed”) rocks. Marble is an example of Metamorphic rock.
Rock Cycle

See more on the Rock Cycle, Geology and Rocks and Minerals for Kids.

8924 total views, 3 today

Turquoise Colors

| Blog | December 10, 2012

Turquoise Colors

Turquoise Colors

Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula

CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O

It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years because of the unique hue and variation different Turquoise Colors produce.

Turquoise Colors

Here is a list of high grade turquoise:

  • Classic Bisbee Turquoisefrom Arizona
  • Classic Nevada Blue Gem Turquoise
  • Carico Lake Lime Green Turquoise
  • Brown Spider Web Tortoise Turquoise
  • High grade Dry Creek Red Spider Web
  • Dark Green Damale Turquoise
  • Manassa Green Turquoise from Colorado
  • Morenci Blue Turquoise from Arizona
  • Mint Green Tortoise Turquoise from Nevada
  • Fox Aqua Blue Green Turquoise
  • Yellow Ivory Tortoise
  • Classic Natural Sleeping Beauty “Robin’s Egg Blue”
  • Pilot Mountain Boulder or Ribbon Turquoise
  • Yellow Spider Web Damale Turquoise
  • High grade Number 8 Turquoise
  • Turquoise Mountain Electric Blue with Golden Brown Web
  • Villa Grove Turquoise from Colorado
  • Blue Wind Fine Black Spider Web Turquoise
  • Kingman Classic Blue Turquoise
  • Lookout Mountain Blue with Black Spider Web Turquoise
  • Classic Pilot Mountain Blue to Green Fade Turquoise
  • Royston Turquoise “Royal Blue”
  • Classic Stormy Mountain Turquoise
  • Tibetan Spider Web Sky Blue Turquoise
  • Electric Blue Ithaca Peak Turquoise with Pyrite Matrix

In many cultures of the past, Turquoise has been highly sought after for thousands of years as a holy stone, and a bringer of good fortune. The oldest evidence for this claim dates back to near 3,000 before Christ, in ancient Egypt, where grave furnishings included turquoise inlays. In the ancient Persian Empire, the sky-blue gemstones as they were known, were worn round the neck and wrist as protection against unnatural death. If they changed color, the wearer was thought to have reason to fear the approach of doom.

Turquoise Colors

Learn more about Turquoise Colors and Types of Turquoise.

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Types of Rocks

| Blog | December 4, 2012

Types of Rocks

Rocks come in many different colors, shapes, textures, and sizes.
The three Types of Rocks found on Earth are Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary.
Types of Rocks
 

Igneous

Igneous rocks are formed from the solidification of molten rock material. There are two types of Igneous rocks:
1) Intrusive igneous rocks such as diorite, gabbro, granite and pegmatite that solidify below Earth’s surface.
2) Extrusive igneous rocks such as andesite, basalt, obsidian, pumice, rhyolite and scoria that solidify on or above Earth’s surface.
Granite, shown below, is an example of Igneous rock.
Types of Rocks
 

Sedimentary

Sedimentary rocks are formed by the accumulation of sediments. There are three basic types of sedimentary rocks:
1) clastic sedimentary rocks such as breccia, conglomerate, sandstone and shale, that are formed from mechanical weathering debris.
2) chemical sedimentary rocks such as rock salt and some limestones, that form when dissolved materials precipitate from solution.
3) organic sedimentary rocks such as coal and some limestones which form from the accumulation of plant or animal debris.
Limestone, shown below, is an example of Sedimentary rock.
Sedimentary Rock
 

Metamorphic

Metamorphic rocks have been modified by heat, pressure and chemical process usually while buried deep below Earth’s surface. Exposure to these extreme conditions has altered the mineralogy, texture and chemical composition of the rocks. There are two basic types of metamorphic rocks:
1) Foliated metamorphic rocks such as gneiss, phyllite, schist and slate which have a layered or banded appearance that is produced by exposure to heat and directed pressure.
2) Non-foliated metamorphic rocks such as marble and quartzite which do not have a layered or banded appearance.
Marble, shown below, is an example of Metamorphic rock.
Metaphorphic Rock

Photos courtesy of geology.com. Types of Rocks.

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Types of Turquoise

| Blog | November 28, 2012

Types of Turquoise

Types of Turquoise

Less than 25% of Turquoise is desirable in its natural state. Much of the untreated turquoise is very delicate and porous with a tendency to undergo color changes when exposed to light, sweat, skin oil, and different types of soaps and cleaning agents.
Turquoise is hard and therefore considered a gemstone, but compared to other gemstones, it is considered soft. Natural turquoise is highly valuable but makes up only a fraction of the turquoise jewelry on the market today. Turquoise mines usually produce only around ten percent high quality turquoise.
About 90% of turquoise jewelry usually goes through some type of treatment, according to most rock and mineral buffs.
Types of Turquoise

Types of Turquoise Treatments:

Treatments are done to keep turquoise from fading or falling apart, and virtually all turquoise stones, natural and treated, are waxed to protect the stone.

Enhanced
A hard turquoise is treated with varying electrical currents to harden the stone and enhance the color. No dyes, resins, waxes, or oils are used in this treatment. Enhanced turquoise does not change color with time.

Stabilized
The turquoise is impregnated with acrylic or epoxy to harden the stone and enhance the color. Stabilized turquoise will not change color with time.

Compressed
Pressure is used to harden the turquoise.

Fracture-Sealed
A fracture sealer is used in this treatment to harden the turquoise matrix.

Synthetic
Turquoise made in the lab, and it identically reproduces the chemical composition and physical characteristics of natural turquoise.

Plastic
Yes, plastic!

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History of Birthstones

| Blog | November 6, 2012

History of Birthstones

The History of birthstones dates back thousands of years

The origin of the birthstone and the history of birthstones is believed to date back thousands of years to the time of Moses, before Christ.
It was at Moses’ command that the Breast Plate of the High Priest was made with the twelve colors, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, and a corresponding gemstone was attributed to each color. Over the centuries, the number twelve developed mystical proportions. There were twelve tribes of ancient Israel, twelve apostles, twelve foundation stones of the Holy City, twelve months of the year and twelve signs of the zodiac. As time went on, people wanted to own all twelve stones of the sacred Breast Plate and began wearing one gemstone set into a piece of jewelry each month and changing it as the months changed. Eventually, in a quest for individuality, people began wearing only his or her stone of birth all year, giving birth to the twelve birthstones. Each birthstone is believed to represent a mystical power. Some were believed to ward off evil, protect the wearer in battle, cure blindness, gout and palsy, and even immunize the wearer from drunkenness.

The History of Birthstones talks about 12 stones, one for each month. Some of the months actually have two birthstones.
History of Birthstones
Learn more about the Birthstones chart.

History of Birthstones is popular throughout the world!

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Birthstones

| Blog | November 4, 2012

Birthstones

Traditional and Modern Birthstones by Month

Do you know your birthstone? Many people are surprised there is more than one birthstone for many of the months.
Find your birthstones below. For a full list of approximately 4,000 minerals, see the Mineral Library.

Month Modern Traditional
January Garnet Garnet
February Amethyst Amethyst
March Aquamarine Bloodstone
April Diamond Diamond
May Emerald Emerald
June Pearl (or Moonstone) Alexandrite
July Ruby Ruby
August Peridot Sardonyx
September Sapphire Sapphire
October Opal Tourmaline
November Citrine Yellow Topaz
December Turquoise (or Blue Topaz) Turquoise (or Blue Zircon)

Birthstones

Learn the History of Birthstones.

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  • Vanadinite

    Vanadinite

    by on March 20, 2013 - 0 Comments

    Vanadinite Vanadinite is a mineral belonging to the apatite group of phosphates, with the chemical formula Pb5(VO4)3Cl. It is one of the main industrial ores o...

  • Rocks and Minerals for Kids

    Rocks and Minerals for Kids

    by on December 11, 2012 - 1 Comments

    Rocks and Minerals for Kids Learn about Geology with Rocks and Minerals for Kids. Can you answer all the questions below successfully? See the Rocks and Miner...

  • Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals

    Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals

    by on December 19, 2012 - 0 Comments

    Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals Watch this short video on Breaking Open a Geode to Find Quartz Crystals. Before video taping, we gave the geode a...

  • Types of Rocks

    by on December 4, 2012 - 0 Comments

    Types of Rocks Rocks come in many different colors, shapes, textures, and sizes. The three Types of Rocks found on Earth are Igneous, Metamorphic and Sediment...

  • Birthstones

    Birthstones

    by on November 4, 2012 - 1 Comments

    Traditional and Modern Birthstones by Month Do you know your birthstone? Many people are surprised there is more than one birthstone for many of the months. F...

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