For their class trip this year, Sage’s third grade went to a Rock and Gem event and they were allowed to bring home some samples.


  • opaque, blue-to-green mineral
  • hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium
  • turquoise, which dates to the 16th century, is derived from an Old French word for “Turkish”
  • insoluble in all but heated hydrochloric acid
  • among the first gems to be mined


  • coarse-grained, intrusive igneous rock
  • composed of quartz, feldspar and mica
  • the world’s largest crystal was found within a pegmatite
  • often contain rare earth minerals and gemstones, such as aquamarine, tourmaline, topaz, fluorite, apatite and corundum, often along with tin and tungsten minerals
  • difficult to sample representatively due to the large size of the constituent mineral crystals


  • cryptocrystalline form of silica
  • composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite
  • The name “chalcedony” comes from the Latin calcedonius, the word used to translate the Greek word khalkedon, found only once, in the Book of Revelation
  • on Minoan Crete at the Palace of Knossos, chalcedony seals have been recovered dating to circa 1800 BC
  • Many semi-precious gemstones are in fact forms of chalcedony

Copper Ore
Copper Ore

  • chemical element with the symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29
  • ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity
  • In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as сyprium
  • Architectural structures built with copper corrode to give green verdigris (or patina)
  • a copper pendant was found in northern Iraq that dates to 8700 BC

Specular Hematite
Specular Hematite

  • a mineral, colored black to steel or silver-gray, brown to reddish brown, or red
  • the main ore of iron
  • hematite is derived from the Greek word for blood αἷμα [aima] because hematite can be red, as in rouge, a powdered form of hematite
  • The powdery mineral was first used 164,000 years ago by the Pinnacle-Point man obviously for social differentiation
  • popularity in jewelry was at its highest in Europe during the Victorian era


  • a mineral consisting of strontium sulfate
  • named for its occasional delicate blue color
  • largest known celestine geode is located near the village of Put-in-Bay, Ohio on South Bass Island in Lake Erie
  • The Crystal Cave has celestine crystals as wide as 18 inches across and weighing up to an estimated 300 lb
  • Pale blue crystal specimens are found in Madagascar

Hourglass Gypsum
Hourglass Gypsum

  • a very soft mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate
  • found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt
  • second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale
  • The word gypsum is derived from the Greek word γύψος [gypsos], “chalk” or “plaster”
  • used as a tofu (soy bean curd) coagulant, making it ultimately a major source of dietary calcium, especially in Asian cultures which traditionally use few dairy products

Rose Quartz
Rose Quartz

  • Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust
  • There are many different varieties of quartz, several of which are semi-precious gemstones
  • “quartz” is derived from the German word “quarz” and its Middle High German ancestor “twarc”, which probably originated in Slavic (cf. Czech tvrdý (“hard”), Polish twardy (“hard”)).
  • often carved into figures such as people or hearts
  • color is usually considered as due to trace amounts of titanium, iron, or manganese


  • Halite, commonly known as rock salt, is the mineral form of sodium chloride
  • Halite forms isometric crystals
  • Salt beds may be hundreds of meters thick and underlie broad areas
  • extensive underground beds extend from the Appalachian basin of western New York through parts of Ontario and under much of the Michigan Basin
  • Halite is often used both residentially and municipally for managing ice


  • a phylum of marine animals that have hard “valves” (shells) on the upper and lower surfaces
  • Most species of brachiopod went extinct during the P–T extinction over 250 million years ago
  • live only in the sea, and most species avoid locations with strong currents or waves
  • now live mainly in cold and low-light conditions
  • Over 12,000 fossil species are recognized, grouped into over 5,000 genera


  • origin of the name “peridot” is uncertain
  • one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive green
  • the birthstone for August (Both Sage and myself are August babies)
  • Peridot olivine is mined in North Carolina, Arizona on the San Carlos Reservation, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico, in the US; and in Australia, Brazil, China, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania
  • the only gemstone found in meteorites
  • The largest cut peridot olivine is a 310 carat specimen in the Smithsonian

Taconite Pellet
Taconite Pellet

  • an iron-bearing sedimentary rock
  • The term was coined by Minnesota State Geologist Newton Horace Winchell during his pioneering investigations of the Precambrian Biwabik Iron Formation of northeastern Minnesota
  • In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, available iron ore was of such high quality that taconite was considered an uneconomic waste product
  • To process taconite, the ore is ground into a fine powder, the magnetite is separated from the waste rock by strong magnets, the powdered iron concentrate is combined with a binder such as bentonite clay and limestone as a flux, and rolled into pellets about one centimeter in diameter containing approximately 65% iron. The pellets are fired at a very high temperatures to harden and make them durable.

Fossil Tooth
Fossil Tooth

  • Sage did not write down what this came from, so here’s some generic fossil info
  • from Latin fossus, literally “having been dug up”
  • the preserved remains or traces of animals (also known as zoolites), plants, and other organisms from the remote past
  • fossils range in age from the youngest at the start of the Holocene Epoch to the oldest from the Archean Eon several billion years old
  • usually that portion that was partially mineralized during life, such as the bones and teeth of vertebrates, or the chitinous or calcareous exoskeletons of invertebrates


  • echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea
  • There are 2,000 living species of starfish that occur in all the world’s oceans
  • bodies of starfish are composed of calcium carbonate components, known as ossicles
  • The mouth of a starfish is located on the underside of the body
  • vulnerable to all forms of water pollution, as they have little ability to filter the water of toxins and contaminants

3 Responses to “Rocks!”

  1. […] post by sprinklingsofalice var addthis_language = 'en'; Filed under Uncategorized ← Conceptual Physics text […]

  2. WOW! Looks like Sage had a really good time! (Koshi would be *so* jealous– he loves rocks. Every time we go to Arizona, I end up lugging fifty pounds of rock home in our luggage. The Desert Museum has a beautiful exhibit of minerals, and you can go outside to the ‘mine dump’ and pick out your own “pretty rocks” :-))

    Very well researched, too! I think the fossil tooth looks like a shark’s tooth (we have several that look just like that…).

    August babies– yay! Me, too! (I’m Aug. 1 ;-)) Peridot= good. Gladiolas= not so good. I vote we campaign to get Cosmos for August…

  3. She LOVED it. At first she was extremely unethusiastic. (Most grades went to the zoo, and the fifth grade went overnight camping.) Whatever it was that caught her imagination, when she came home she thought it was great. (I couldn’t go because of school.)

    Oh, neat, if we ever get out that way, we will definitely make that a stop.

    I’ll tell her about the shark’s tooth, thanks!

    Sage is August 1! (I’m the 23rd.) And I’m with you on the glads. Stinky, yuk, ew. Although a couple websites say Dahlias, and I’m fond of them. (Can’t get ’em to grow on my patio though, not sure what I’ve done wrong but I gave up after a couple seasons.) Cosmos are pretty too, happy and simple.

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