Granite is a type of rock that forms by pieces of volcanic rock called quartz and feldspar. It is considered an ‘igneous’ or fiery rock because it comes from volcanoes.
Although granite is one of the most common types of igneous rock found on Earth’s surface, it does not form on the surface.
Through the repeated heating and cooling of the volcanoes, the granite is formed and moved to the surface by plate tectonics (when the Earth’s plates hit each other).
The word ‘granite’ comes from the Latin word “granum” which means grains. It refers to the little grains of quartz and feldspar that are stuck together like grains.
Granite is very hard because it is made from lave, and is found in different colours, like pink, gray, and black. Its colour depends on the amount of feldspar rock present.
Although it is found almost all over the planet, certain countries have a higher amount of it than others do, such as Brazil, India, and America.
Anything made out of granite has the huge advantage of lasting long, because the rock is so hard it does not break or decay easily.
On the other hand, because it is so hard, it also has the disadvantage of being difficult to cut and carve when making things, especially like statues.
In the early days, granite was used by the Egyptians to carve statues (of pharaohs). Today, granite is mostly used for building purposes, kitchen countertops, and tombstones.
The heads at Mount Rushmore are carved out of granite. The city of Aberdeen in Scotland is called the Granite City because most of the city is built from this rock.
The Granite Railway is America’s first railroad and was built to transport granite in the 1820s.
Just like many natural stones, granite is also radioactive. This means that it has a high amount of the element uranium in it.
Even though it has quite a high amount of uranium compared with other stones, this amount is not dangerous to humans.
Besides being hard, it also does not scratch or stain easily once it is polished. Bacteria find it difficult to survive on it, so it is just second to stainless steel.
Granite is also used for certain engineering projects, and rock climbing too.