Although I love geoscience, I’m not a geologist, though I tried to become one. Mineralogy lab was tough – you had to identify rocks without using labels.
Sadly, YouTube and the Geology Kitchen weren’t around yet.
It’s even worse out in the field, of course. The Mohs hardness scale was a lifesaver. Where did it get that name? From its inventor, who expanded on earlier Classical work by Theophrastus and Pliny the Elder, per Dr. Wikipedia.
Here is Mohs in less than a minute:
Here is a slightly more in-depth biography. And this is his legacy to the world:
: Memorial plaque in Vienna, by Doris Antony, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia
I once found a mother lode of gold, or thought I had.
We lived in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, and one summer weekend while out in the backyard doing kid things, something shiny on a dark gray rock caught my eye. It was a small, glittering gold square of metal.
Note: A version of this article appeared on Helium, June 15, 2011.
Limestone is a calcium-based rock that has many uses in daily life. As a construction stone, it may decorate the facade of the office building or school that you are sitting in right now, and form the retaining wall around its parking garage and lawn. Powdered, it is a primary ingredient of the Portland cement used to build that garage and also of the soil-enriching materials that keep the lawn green.
This versatile stone is used to make the cement sidewalk that runs alongside your lawn as well as the chalk that the local kids use in their drawings.