131. The miracle mineral!


A miracle mineral had been in the prehistoric axe as much as it is in today’s precision watch. Its name is Quartz!

Quartz is the most abundant mineral found in nature—forming one eighth of the earth’s crust. It is undoubtedly the most versatile mineral known too.

Quartz is a compound of Silicon and Oxygen. It can vary from the size of a pin head to a five ton block!

Pure quartz is colourless and is called the “Rock crystal”. The presence of impurities renders the quartz colourful and we get the gemstones widely used in jewels. Some of the much sought after coloured gems stones are Yellow citrine, Pink Rose quartz, Apple Green Chrysoprase, Red cornelian, Violet tinted Amethyst as well as the multi coloured Agate, Jasper and the Onyx.

Rock crystals have many uses. Fortune tellers use crystal balls. Prisms and lenses made from quartz are used in optical instruments and spectacles.

Quartz is heat-resistant and is widely used in electrical insulators and the moulds for casting metals. “Silica glass” can withstand very high temperatures and is ideal for making the oven-proof dishes and tubes used in labs. Drawn into thin fibers, quartz plays a vital role in fiber optics.

The most amazing property of quartz is its “Piezoelectricity”. Like any other crystal quartz produces electricity when subjected to pressure. Conversely quartz can also change its shape when electricity is applied to it.

This helps in controlling the movements of the hands of a clock or the digital numbers in watches. Quartz is not affected by weather and keeps very accurate time.

When compressed by a force of 1000 pounds, a half-an-inch-cube of quartz can generate an amazing 25,000 volts! So it is widely used in gas stove lighters, to start gasoline engines and to set off explosive devices.

As the supply of natural quartz dwindles and diminishes, synthetic quartz is being used increasingly. But synthetic or natural, quartz will continue to be the most versatile of all minerals known to man!

Visalakshi Ramani

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2 Responses to 131. The miracle mineral!

  1. Nice subject great exececution on your site

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