How to read a rock

How to read a rock
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    rocks are fabulous things but I would say that because I'm a geologist
    rocks are fabulous things because they contain stories stories of ancient
    continents and oceans that have since dried up and my favorite stories about
    vast mountain ranges the stories that these rocks contain are written in their
    own special language so geologists have to learn that language so how do you
    read a rock the smallest building blocks of language are letters in geology this
    means the chemical elements rocks contain all sorts of elements common
    ones such as calcium magnesium and iron and more exotic elements like neodymium
    hafnium and zirconium if we put letters together we form words and if we put
    elements together we form minerals different combinations of these elements
    make different words the mineral quartz is quite a simple word just made up of
    silicon and oxygen but you can have much more complicated words such as garnet
    garnet can have a number of different spellings depending on how much
    manganese iron magnesium and calcium are in the garnet spelling is important and
    different spellings can tell us information about how the mineral was
    formed words combine together to form sentences and paragraphs and minerals
    combine together to form rocks the way that words join together to form
    sentences it's really important in language as is the way that minerals fit
    together to form rocks this is what geologists called the texture of a rock
    different textures have different meanings sentences and paragraphs joined
    together to form chapters and to read chapters in a rock we have to look at
    features called zones special minerals such as zircon and monazite have the
    ability to continuously record what has happened to a rock throughout its
    lifetime if we look at these minerals in detail we can see that their chemistry
    is different across the different zones of the crystal each zone is a chapter in
    the life of the rock if you look at enough minerals in enough rocks you read
    the letters words sentences paragraphs and chapters recorded within them you
    can piece together all that information and hopefully tell the biography of an
    entire mountain range
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