What is Granite?

Granite is everywhere. You’ve seen it carved into beautiful sculptures in museums. You’ve seen it in impressive columns, magnificent arches, and thick, solid blocks. You’ve seen it on the faces of United States Presidents at Mount Rushmore. You’ve seen it in walls, walkways, fireplaces, floor tiles, and countertops. You know it’s a beautiful majestic, stately stone. But, what exactly is granite? Let’s take a look!

Granite is an igneous rock, which means that it was formed from molten lava deep within the earth’s crust. As the lava cools, it crystallizes under enormous pressure. It’s this crystallization that forms granite’s signature speckles of color — the longer the molten rock has to cool, the bigger the speckles, or grains, of color. In fact, that’s where granite gets its name: from the latin word “granum”, or grain.

For the most part, granite is made up of quartz and potassium feldspar, but it gets its wide variety of colors from other trace minerals present in the molten stone. Pink and red come from the presence of potassium feldspar, while white and gray come from quartz. Black and green are due to amphibole, while yellow comes from muscovite and brown from biotite. Mica is often commonly found in granite as well, and can also be responsible for dark gray or brown grains, as well as any shiny, light-catching speckles you may see.

Granite is the most common igneous rock found on the earth’s surface, which seems a little strange considering how deep under the earth’s surface it forms. How does it get up here? By seismic activity, that has been occurring since the earth began. During earthquakes, granite is thrust up to the earth’s surface with such force that it can form entire mountain ranges! In fact, granite is a favorite among rock climbers because of how sturdy and sound it is. Granite mountains are found all over the world, and chances are you’ve heard of at least some of them — Yosemite, the Colorado Rockies, Sugarloaf Mountain, The White Mountains, and many others are all made of this ubiquitous stone that began life so unfathomably far below the earth’s crust and ended up so unfathomably far above our heads.

Granite is incredibly hard and durable, which is why it’s such a popular building material. It’s resistant to scratching and weathering, and it can bear a lot of weight, making it a prime material for making buildings, walls, columns, pavers for roadways, and more. These properties are also why it’s such a great material for home use. Floor tiles made of granite won’t wear away even under heavy traffic, and granite countertops are extremely resistant to knife scratches, chipping, and acid erosion. So, it can pretty much withstand anything you can throw at it, and it’ll stay beautiful for ages (litearlly!) to come.

Curious to see how you can incorporate some of this majestic material in your home? Check out our live inventory right here!

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