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Granite Stone Properties, Facts and Photos

square chunk of granite stone on display in a museum display cabinet

What is Granite?

Granite is an igneous rock made up primarily of the minerals quartz and feldspar.  Smaller amounts of other minerals including orthoclase, hornblende and mica are also present.

Granite is a rock not a mineral.  The difference between the two is rocks are made up of various minerals whereas minerals are made up of crystals.

Granite makes up a large part of the continental crust which is the layer of Earth we live on.  These rocks form well below the surface as molten magma cools, crystallises and solidifies.

Due to intense pressure magma is forced between other layers of rock before slowly turning to stone.

Granite crystals are often large and clearly visible (macrocrystalline) because they have grown very slowly over millions of years.
colourful porphyritic granite stone on a black background

More Granite Facts

Best known for its mottled pink, white and grey colour, granite is a stone known for its strength and durability.  For this reason it has been prized as a building material for thousands of years.

Granite was widely used in ancient Egypt particularly for carving obelisks and for the chambers of the Great Pyramid.

In South Dakota the heads of four U.S presidents are carved into the face of Mount Rushmore which is granite.

Granite remains one of the most popular stones for use in the building trade.  It's a hard stone that resists weathering and has the ability to bear significant weight.  It can be attractive and colourful and takes on an exceptional polish.

Granite is widely used for kitchen worktops and once fitted rarely needs to be replaced.

Article Photos

The granite at the top of our article is on display in London's Natural History Museum. Photo by Stone Mania. 

The second photo is porphyritic granite. Photo courtesy of Stan Celestian. Both images are clickable and redirect to the original photos.

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