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Mineralogy

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This volcano kit guarantees improved explosive power for a super-fun and educational project. It comes equipped with a sturdy volcano, paints that are realistic colors, a complete learning guide, pop crystals and two real rocks. $14.99 at Amazon

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I live in central New Hampshire, aka The Granite State. They don't call it that for nothing. My own house sits directly on top of one of the enormous granite plutons, the Meredith Porphyritic Granite. A giant piece of this solid bedrock is right next to my driveway. What a perfect place for me to live, considering my college major was geology.

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The Blackfoot Volcanic Field in southeast Idaho is a unique product of Yellowstone hotspot volcanism. While it is chemically similar to other volcanic rocks in eastern Idaho that are related to the hotspot, it is located far from the hot spot track — a testament to its entanglement with tectonic activity of the Basin and Range Province.

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While most beaches are covered in sand made of pulverized coral, the fine powder on Siesta Beach is quartz. The mineral traveled down hillsides via rivers, eventually being deposited on Florida’s western shore. And that material change makes a big difference. Unlike coral, the reflective powder (which feels like flour) quartz keeps cool even on piping hot days.

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CARDWELL — From the outside, it looks like a sagebrush hillside, but inside is a large circular room with a 40-foot ceiling and pathways that wind through stalagmites, clusterites and columns formed over millions of years by water and limestone.

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