What is Basalt?
Basalt is a fine-grained, hard rock that forms when bits of lava shoot out of volcanoes, so it's one kind of igneous rock.
When the lava cools quickly, it turns into basalt. Usually basalt is black or gray. Basalt is a mixture of feldspar and pyroxene, a rock made mainly of silica and oxygen. Pyroxene is what jade is before metamorphosis.
Asphalt pavement made with basalt
Basalt is pretty common on Earth, and there is also a lot of basalt on the Moon, and on other planets including Mars and Venus.
Like granite, basalt is a very hard rock. Because it is a common rock and so hard, people used basalt for early choppers and for grinding stones for grinding grains like millet and barley. Roman engineers paved a lot of Roman roads with basalt, and today engineers still use a lot of ground-up basalt to make asphalt to pave roads.
Bibliography and further reading about rocks:
Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University
Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.
More about Professor Carr's work on the Portland State University website
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