Japan’s cherry blossom stone is a natural wonder
Meet the cherry blossom stone from Japan - one of the most striking natural rock formations in the world.
by Bec Crew
So-called because when you crack them open, their internal cross-sections look like tiny golden-pink flowers, cherry blossom stones (sakura ishi in Japanese) get their beautiful patterns from mica, which is a commonly found silicate mineral known for its shiny, light-reflecting surface.
These flower patterns weren’t always made of mica. They started their existence as a complex matrix of six prism-shaped crystal deposits of a magnesium-iron-aluminium composite called cordierite, radiating out from a single dumbbell-shaped crystal made from a magnesium-aluminium-silicate composite called indialite in the centre.
Hosted inside a fine-grained type of rock called a hornfels - formed underground around 100 million years ago by the intense heat of molten lava - cherry blossom stones underwent a second significant metamorphosis in their geological lifespan when they were exposed to a type of hot water called hydrothermal fluids…
(read more: ScienceAlert! - Australia/NZ)
images: John Rakovan et al.
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