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This piece of granite contains crystals of quartz, feldspar, and mica. Click on the image to look closer at the mineral crystals!
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Courtesy of Corel

Granite Rocks

As granite is an intrusive igneous rock, a close look at a piece of granite will reveal that there are crystals of common silicate minerals within it such as quartz, plagioclase feldspar and orthoclase feldspar. In fact, granite is made mostly of quartz and feldspar. It also may contain small amounts of mica minerals or other dark colored silicate minerals. Click on the picture to the left to take a closer look at granite!

Granite is the most common type of intrusive igneous rock that we have at the Earth’s surface. If granite forms deep within the Earth, you are probably wondering why we have so much of it at the Earth’s surface. Plate tectonics is responsible for moving rocks around the planet and for transporting rocks that were once deep within the crust to locations above ground, even high mountaintops. Uplift of the crust, caused by colliding continental plates, allows rocks that were once underground to be thrust up to the surface.

Because granite is very hard, it often used to make buildings, kitchen countertops, tombstones, and sculptures.


Last modified June 17, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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TES XXVI, 3 fall 2010 The Fall 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on rocks and minerals, including articles on minerals and mining, the use of minerals in society, and rare earth minerals, and includes 3 posters!

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Intrusive Igneous Rocks

Intrusive igneous rocks, also called plutonic rocks, form deep below the Earth’s surface when magma, or molten rock, rises into a crack or an underground chamber within the Earth. The chamber is a little...more

Quartz

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA