9 Minerals That Totally Rock

  • By Saad Amer
  • Posted 07.19.17
  • NOVA

From sea creatures to cityscapes, minerals are everywhere.

Running Time: 2:17


9 Minerals That Totally Rock

Published July 19, 2017

On Screen: These nine minerals aren’t just pretty, they can do amazing things!

#1 Calcite

Brittlestars have calcite crystals built into their skeletons. The crystals act as lenses and focus light onto nerve bundles to allow the animals to see.

#2 Stibnite

Stibnite was used to make kohl, an eye cosmetic worn by ancient Egyptians. They believed it could cure ailments.

#3 Azurite

Azurite was once a popular source of pigment in blue paint. Over time azurite oxidizes into its green cousin:

#4 Malachite

So the blue some Renaissance era paintings is now tinted green.

#5 Fluorite

Some fluorite is thermoluminescent, which means it glows when heated to certain temperatures.

#6 Gold

Astronaut visors are coated with a thin layer of gold. It doesn’t corrode and protects astronauts’ eyes from dangerous solar rays

#7 Pyrite

“Fools gold,” has been studied as a possible component in solar panels because it’s cheaper and more readily available than silicon.

#8 Labradorite

These spectacular colors come from a phenomenon called labradorescence. Rather than reflecting off the exterior, light bounces off surfaces inside the rock.

#9 Goethite

Aquatic snails called limpets have teeth laced with nanofibers of goethite. These teeth are so strong they could chew through a bulletproof vest.

From sea creatures to cityscapes, amazing minerals are everywhere.



Digital Editor, Writer
Drew Gannon
Digital Producer
Saad Amer


Original Footage
Rob Tinworth
Brittle Star
Dr. Joanna Aizenberg
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Golden Mask of Tutankhamen
Wikimedia/Carsten Frenzi
Common limpet




Rob Tinworth

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