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Making the Most of hBARSCI’s Rock and Mineral Specimens

hBARSCI now offers a variety of high-quality rock and mineral sets that will cover the basics of geology. However, if you’re interested in digging deeper into the earth sciences, our collection of individual specimens provides lots of opportunity as well. Here are just a few examples of different sets you can make yourself.

These sets are now being offered as pre-made kits from hBARSCI. Follow the title links to pick one up at a discount.


Bowen’s Reaction Series 

When magma cools, igneous rock-forming minerals begin to crystallize. In the early 1900s, Norman Bowen began experimenting to discover why certain igneous minerals were often associated with one another. He heated up powdered rock until it melted, then observed the artificial magma as it cooled. Bowen recorded the types of minerals that were produced in each rock that he made, repeating the experiment with different cooling temperatures.

Bowen found that each mineral has its own individual crystallization temperature. As magma cools and reaches lower temperatures, different minerals form. This progression formed the basis for his reaction series, which is a hallmark of igneous mineralogy today.

If you want to follow in Norman Bowen’s footsteps, this collection of minerals runs the path from highest crystallization temperature (olivine at ~1,900°C/~3,452°F) to lowest crystallization temperature (quartz at ~700°C/~1,292°F).


 Bowen's Reaction Series Minerals


To make the set:



    All Quartz, All The Time

    One of the most common minerals on the planet is quartz. Quartz is composed of silicon and oxygen, which form regular, polygonal tetrahedra. These tetrahedra can share oxygen atoms between each other, forming larger, more complex geometric shapes. When every oxygen is shared by two tetrahedra, they are considered to be in a framework, forming quartz. The abundance of silicon and oxygen in the earth’s chemical makeup is part of why it is such a common mineral.

    Quartz can be found almost anywhere either as a mineral or as a major constituent in rocks. There are some rocks that are made up entirely of quartz. Quartz can make up mountain tops, grow in underground caves, and be found forming large canyon walls. Even the sand at the beach is all quartz.

    So if you love quartz as much as we do, this is the perfect set for you. This collection of rocks and minerals contains almost 100% quartz with two mineral samples and one sample of quartz-based rock from each rock type.


    A Quartz Family


    To make the set:



      A Chip Off the Old Rock 

      Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. They can crystallize out of magma, become glued together, or be fused by intense heat and pressure while buried underground. Most rocks are made up of a medley of different minerals, but sometimes you only need one to form a whole rock.

      This set acts as a fun, educational game that you can play by yourself or in a group. The goal is to separate the five rocks from the five minerals, then try to match each rock with the mineral that it’s composed of. Can you figure out which parent mineral belongs to each child rock?


      Which mineral matches which rock?


      To make the set:

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