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Interesting Facts About Obsidian Rocks

Updated on July 6, 2010

Obsidian Chemical Properties

Obsidian rock is a type of extrusive igneous rock. Obsidian rocks resemble a dark glass and are formed as a result of rapid cooling of silica-rich lava. It chemically comprises silicon dioxide as one of its primary constituents, with several other impurities. It is sometimes classified instead as a mineraloid. Though obsidian has a dark color similar to mafic rocks such as basalt, its composition is extremely felsic. According to its chemical composition, the texture and color of an obsidian rock differ with one another. Like example, presence of iron and magnesium imparts a blackish to greenish specks in the obsidian rocks.

For a layman, obsidian rock resembles a smoky quartz in appearance and color. However, many properties dependant on a crystal structure are absent or altered in obsidian because it lacks any crystal stucture of its own. The optical and piezoelectric properties in quartz are thus absent in obsidian. Obsidian's color is more uniformly distributed, while smoky quartz usually has a zoned or splotchy distribution to its color. Like all glass, obsidian breaks with a characteristic conchoidal fracture and may have been polished to create early mirrors.

Uses of Obsidian

Obsidian is used in making surgical blades, crystal healing, gemstones and ornamental application. Archaeological studies found evidences regarding usage of these rocks as cutting tools and weapons in ancient times. The cutting edge of well crafted obsidian blades are as fine as high quality surgical steel scalpels. The cutting edge of an obsidian blade is even throghout the length (unlike steel and metallic blade), thus giving smooth cuts. It was highly valued in certain Stone Age cultures because it can be fractured to produce arrow heads or sharp blades. Obsidian is found in parts of United states, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Kenya, Italy, Greece and Iceland.

Snowflake Obsidian
Snowflake Obsidian

Types of Obsidian

As silicate rich lava extruded from inside the crust of the earth, it falls over water bodies or other cool surfaces, as a result, an immediate formation of obsidian rocks without having time for crystallization. That is the reason why these rocks are amorphous and don't have any crystal system. Obsidian is relatively soft with a hardness of 5 - 5.5 according to Mohs scale of hardness. Its specific gravity is around 2.6. A pure obsidian rock is translucent and dark in color.

Obsidian rocks are divided into many types, out of which flow bubble is one. These air bubbles remaining from the lava flow aligned in a regular pattern, giving specific effects. Rainbow obsidian possesses characteristic rainbow luster, while sheen obsidian has golden effects. Another common type is snowflake obsidian, having inclusions of small, white crystals of cristobalite. Small nuggets of obsidian that have been rounded and smoothed naturally by wind and water are called "apache tears."

Obsidian Healing and Metaphysical Properties

Like all crystals, there are some benefits to those who cherish their healing and comforting qualities. Obsidian is also known as the “Stone of Truth” and it holds a variety of metaphysical qualities. It helps individuals to see flaws inside themselves and make necessary changes needed to eliminate them. Obsidian helps promote the physical well being, circulation system and digestive health of an individual. It serves as protective stone, absorbing negative energies and transforming them. As a black gemstone, it symbolizes self control and resilience. It is related to the root chakra and considered to be a grounding stone. Obsidian is also believed to sharpen and focuse internal and external vision, help rid one of bacterial or viral infections and benefits the stomach, muscle tissue and your intestines. For those who want to become a better person and need to improve themselves in order to have a happier life, this crystal of obsidian will help them to see the light of their ways.

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      DarkDragon2 2 years ago

      this was cool

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      DarkDragon 2 years ago

      Thanks