Granite Rock | Properties and Meaning



chunk of granite on display in a museum cabinet


Granite a Rock not a Mineral

Granite is an igneous rock made up primarily of the minerals quartz and feldspar but smaller amounts of other minerals including orthoclase, hornblende and mica are also present.  For this reason it's classified as a rock not a mineral.  The difference between the two is that rocks are made up of different minerals whereas minerals are made up of crystals.

Granite is one of the oldest of all rock types and this popular stone makes up a large part of the continental crust which is the layer of Earth that we live on.  It forms well below the surface of the earth as molten magma cools, crystallises and solidifies.  Due to intense pressure magma is forced between other layers of rock before slowly turning into stone.  Crystals are often large and clearly visible because they have grown very slowly over millions of years deep beneath the surface of the earth so have had plenty of time to form.



More about Granite

Best known for its mottled pink, white and grey colour, granite is known for its strength and durability hence has been prized as a building material for thousands of years.  It was widely used in Ancient Egypt particularly for carving obelisks but also for 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 types of stone for use in the building trade not only because of its hardness, resistance against weathering and ability to bear significant weight but also because it's an attractive and often colourful material which takes on an exceptionally high polish.  Along with quartz it's widely used for kitchen worktops and once fitted rarely needs to be replaced.



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