1. Pyrite (fools gold) is a cause of acid rain!
When coal containing small particles of pyrite is burnt, oxidation occurs, and sulphuric acid is formed. When this is released into the atmosphere, it falls as acid rain!
2. Opals contain up to 30% water!
Opals are hydrated silicon dioxide, usually containing between 4-9% water. If some of this water is lost, they can loose their iridescence!
3. Quartz is piezoelectric, meaning that when pressure is applied, it develops an electric charge!
This makes Quartz crystals ideal for using in many applications, such as ultrasound scanners, computer chips and quartz watches!
4. Ice is a crystal!!
Ice is in fact a crystalline mineral, it just has a lower melting point than most!
5. Diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth!
However diamonds are not quite forever, as over millions of years they’ll turn into the very soft substance, graphite (which pencil ‘leads’ are made of!).
6. Stibnite was used as an ancient eyebrow pencil!
Ancient Greeks used Stibnite as a cosmetic, naming it after the greek work ‘stibium’ meaning ‘that which marks’.
7. Tourmaline is pyroelectric!
When heat is applied, Tourmaline develops a static charge which pulls lightweight objects (such as paper) towards it. In Holland it was used to pull ash out of pipes, to clean them!
8. Smokey quartz has been irradiated!
When quartz containing small traces of aluminium is irradiated, smokey quartz is created! Smokey quartz is often exposed to artificial radiation, which tends to be darker in colour.
9. Vanadinite is named after the Norse Goddess, Freya!
Vanadinite was named by Swedish chemist Nils Sefström, who named it after Goddesses Freya’s ancient title, Vanadis!
10. Obsidian is a natural glass!
Formed when volcanic melt cools very rapidly, Obsidian does not have time to form a crystalline structure and is therefore a natural, volcanic glass.