Crystals are forming out of shallow water that has flooded the bottom of Death Valley. It is so hot and dry that the water evaporates and mineral crystals are left behind!
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Martin Miller, University of Oregon
Some Sedimentary Rocks Are Made of Crystals!
Some sedimentary rocks are made of mineral crystals that come from oceans, lakes, and groundwater. Water can have all the ingredients that are needed to make mineral crystals!
How does water hold the ingredients to make minerals? See for yourself by putting a spoonful of salt into a glass of water. The salt will dissolve into the water. You canít see it anymore, but it is still there and if you take a sip of the water you will know it! Seawater tastes salty because there are salty minerals such as halite dissolved in it.
Sometimes water becomes so full of dissolved minerals that they will not all fit. When some of the water evaporates away, there is less room for the dissolved minerals. If they do not all fit, crystals of halite, gypsum, and calcite may form.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
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!
You might also be interested in:
Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. There are many different types of minerals. All of them are solid and all are made of atoms of elements. Minerals can grow even though they are not alive. Most...more
Whatís that on your chips? Itís a mineral called halite! Halite is salt. Take a close look at grains of salt. Donít they look like mineral crystals? The sure way to tell of a mineral is halite is to taste...more
Have you ever left a glass of water out for a long time? Did you notice that the water disappears after a few days? That's because it evaporated! Evaporation is when water passes from a liquid to a gas....more
This is gypsum! It often forms as a layer of the bottom of a salty sea. Sometimes it forms in sandy areas like deserts and little sand grains are trapped between the gypsum crystals. This makes the crystals...more
This is calcite, the same mineral that makes the clam shells that you find on the beach! Perfect crystals of calcite allow you to do a special magic trick!...more
Rocks made of fossils are called organic sedimentary rocks. This picture shows one place where organic rocks are being made on the Earth today. This is a coral reef where the skeletons of coral, clams,...more
Spotting minerals is fun! There are many different types of minerals. Each has a different name and special traits. You can learn more about minerals by looking closely at them to understand their special...more