— Minerals —
Building blocks of the Earth
What is a mineral?
Minerals are everywhere. But we usually don't pay much attention to them. They are literally the building blocks of the rocks and thus of the planet. That's the short version of the answer.
Why are minerals so special? Because they occur in all colours of the rainbow, they filter and reflect light. They occur in geometric shapes that even the most inventive architect can't imagine.
Minerals, crystals and precious stones have fascinated people since time immemorial. Mystical powers were assigned to these curious products of nature. Even today, in a highly advanced technical world, in which many people turn to science for an answer, we are still drawn to minerals and captivated by their splendor.
Whether you're a professional or amateur geologist, I bet you have your own little collection of minerals and stones at home, nicely on display in a glass cabinet. God forbid someone touches them! You may be a pragmatic person, yet your minerals are more to you than just a few pieces of stone. Did you ask yourself:
How are minerals formed? How long have they existed and waited until they were found?
And why do some minerals develop large, lustrous crystals, while others are opaque and heterogeneous? They can crystallize directly from lava in a volcano. Or they quietly settle in a lake, like desert rose.
Read more on minerals and gems, their origins, and their meaning for humanity.
- Diamonds of South Africa: Looking beyond the mines.
Are you thinking about a certain mineral and here you didn't find anything about it (yet)? On Wikipedia you will find info, but not always on the origin or the natural history of minerals. I get these from different sources. Mindat is a professional database with a huge number of minerals and explanations. That's where I sometimes have a sneak peek. But also on Wikipedia of course.
Photo at the top by géry60 on Foter.com / CC BY-ND