Granite and Ice Cream have more in common with each other than a person might originally think. Both of these objects begin their "lives" as liquids, cool, and eventually solidify. Granite solidifies at temperatures below 650°C (1200°F), and Ice Cream at temperatures below 0°C (32 °F).
The basic ingredients of Ice Cream are milk, cream, and sugar. The basic ingredients of Granite are Plagioclase Feldspar, Potassium Feldspar and Quartz. Quartz is the most abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, but Feldspar is more common in the world as a whole. The basic “Flavors” of the Ice Cream world are Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry. The basic “Flavors” of the Granite world are Peraluminous (contains Aluminum), Peralkaline (contains Sodium and Potassium), and Metaluminous (a mixture). All Granites are going to fit into one of these three chemical “Flavors”. The chocolate chips and nuts of the Granite world are minerals such as Muscovite, Biotite and Augite. The Smuckers chocolate swirls are layers of dark black minerals called Schlieren. The word Schlieren comes from the German word for “streaks”. Butterfingers, M&M's, Heath Bars, and Oreo cookies added to Ice Cream, can be compared to Xenoliths (fragments of unrelated rocks found inside Granite) and Enclaves (dark fragments that are related to, but not actual Granite). The Cherry, Mint and Peach flavorings added to Ice Cream are like the chemical elements such as Fluorine, Boron, and Titanium that will be found in Granite. Emulsifiers, Stabilizers and Thickeners found in Ice Cream, and minerals such as Zircon, Apatite, and Titanite found in Granite, all have a big influence on the overall “Flavor”. Add a little of any of these “additives” and they can greatly influence the final "Flavor".
Both Granite and Ice Cream become crystalline as they solidify. Crystals in Ice Cream are typically too small to be seen with the naked eye. Granite has crystals large enough that their basic minerals can be identified with a quick glance. Quartz crystals are usually transparent and glassy with rough irregular fractures. Feldspar crystals are usually pearly, white or pink, with smooth cleaved surfaces. Many Granites show pearly flakes of white or black Mica, while others contain dark green or black Hornblende particles. Granite comes in a slightly limited variety of color depending on its chemistry and mineralogy (“Flavor”), while Ice Cream comes in a seemingly endless array of colors and “Flavors”.
Other types of rocks can have the same general appearance and some of the same ingredients as Granite, but they will not be Granite. If not mixed and cooled properly, the finished product will be a cheap imposter. By not following “The Recipe”, the end product could be a substance such as Gabbro (Dolerite). Just like Granite, Gabbro is a coarse grained, intrusive, igneous and plutonic rock. Gabbro and Granite both contain Plagioclase Feldspar, Amphibole, Olivine and Pyroxene. Yet some of the needed ingredients (Potassium Feldspar for one) to make Gabbro a complete Granite are missing, making it an imposter. Close, but no cigar.
Ice Cream has its own list of imposters which include Sorbet, Italian ice, Granita and Sherbet. None of these contains milk but all still have a similar “Flavor” as that of Ice Cream.
Any changes in “The Recipe” can result in significant alterations to the final product. Shown below are a few of the various “flavors” of Granite.
Just as Vanilla Ice Cream may not look like Pralines and Cream, Chocolate Fudge Truffle, or Burgundy Cherry; they all contain many of the same ingredients and are created in basically the same process.
Shapes And Sizes:
Both Granite and Ice Cream can be found in a vast multitude of shapes and sizes. Ice Cream can come in cookies, cups, blocks, bars or sticks to name a few. Granite comes in batholiths (large rounded masses), laccoliths (mushroom-like or domed sheets), lopoliths (bowl shaped sheets), and sills (horizontal sheets) or dikes (non-horizontal sheets). The final shape that each of these can take, will tell you nothing about their overall chemistry and mineralogy (“Flavor”).
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From a distance, this rock appears (A) in color. Up close, you will see that it contains (B) and (C) colored particles. These particles are approximately (D) in size. According to the plaque, this rock is specifically known as (E) and was mined near (F).
Thomas R. Johnson, P.E.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Lake Michigan Area Office - Kewaunee