Hello! It’s not a silly question at all. Minerals come in all different shapes, sizes, and numbers on the Mohs scale of hardness. Aragonite comes in at 3.5 - 4 (1 being the softest, 10 being the hardest [i.e. diamond]). I have many different forms of aragonite: ones like in my experiment, and ones like this.
When it comes to uses, I guess it all depends on what you want to do with it. Mine are a mixture of decoration, jewellery, or doing experiments. Aragonite does have a use in aquariums to help replicate natural ocean life, and help balance levels (like pH) in tanks. It develops in mollusk shells and corals too (plus in the ocean and caves), and you’ll also see many ammonite fossils showing signs of aragonite, for example.
My one aragonite specimen is pretty durable, but I always handle every specimen of mine with care no matter the Mohs hardness. As with what happened with my Project Aragonite experiment a few days ago, someone moved my glass container and all the aragonite fell off in an instant right into the vinegar. But of course it grew back within a day to even more than I originally had. Right now it is currently drying out and hardening, which will be sturdy enough to handle and move around soon enough. An aragonite specimen like one of mine with the pseudohexagonal twinning structures is a bit stronger than some fibrous aragonite. Those have a greater chance of breaking due to the way they form.
It’s a very fun experiment! It’s simple and there’s not much you need to do other than pour white distilled vinegar into a glass container with the popcorn rock and watch them grow. You’re welcome, and thanks for the ask!
Project Aragonite: Day 16… or 1?
So yesterday after my Day 15 post, someone moved my glass jar and all the aragonite crystals fell right off. I wasn’t upset at all about it, but I made sure now only I handle the container. The past two weeks, the jar has been in controlled temperature and light to show the slower process of growth at work. This time, seeing as they all fell off, I decided to show you guys what high heat and light can really do to this rock.
The above photos you see were taken within the last hour, and all these crystals grew on the rock within less than 24 hours. Why? Again, high heat and light! Aragonite loves those conditions, and so you get a super fast experiment. Usually, it can take 1-3 weeks to have crystals grow; all depending on the conditions around the jar. Within less than a day, I grew more aragonite within that period of time than I did in two weeks. I should have set up a camera to do a time lapse, but that can be done if I find the time.
Pretty cool how quickly they can grow, right? So a reminder, if you want a slower process of crystal growing, control lower temperatures and timed lighting (which is what I originally did) will be needed. If you want quick growing, higher temperatures and more light is needed for that process to be sped up.
Project Aragonite: Day 15.
Well, we have a little more activity with the growth of aragonite. Finally, some crystals have grown on the rock itself, plus much more along the walls of the glass jar. I’ve barely been on Tumblr, which is why I wasn’t able to update this project until now. The vinegar has evaporated enough to expose the top half of the rock, so more crystals should continue to grow! I have the rock in direct sunlight to help the process of growing the crystals more successful as well. As the vinegar continues to evaporate, more and more crystals will grow. Here’s an awesome example of someone’s popcorn rock after all the vinegar evaporated on YouTube.
Project Aragonite: Day 7.
So week one has passed and there hasn’t been too much to update you guys with. The vinegar has just begun to expose the limestone, so with some time crystals will be more visable. More of the mineral has formed along the inner walls of the square glass jar, which is always a good sign! For this next week, I’m moving it into warmer temperatures with more light to help the crystals grow faster now that the tip of the rock is exposed.
These are some photos of the aragonite on the inner walls for you guys to see. I’ll try to update more (daily) as the process continues, but the last 5 days have just been uneventful, so I didn’t see much of the point.
I just have a little text update for Project Aragonite, but I may post a few photos later on today.
I prepared the rock late on July 7th, and day one started on July 8th. July 9th is now full day #2.
Everything is beginning as usual. Ever since the limestone was submerged in white distilled vinegar, bubbles have been created due to the rock absorbing the liquid. They are not as frequent as when first submerged, but they are continuing to make their way to the liquid’s surface.
When it comes to crystals on the rock, I can’t see any just yet, but some vinegar has already evaporated and small aragonite crystals have formed on the wall of the jar where the vinegar originally was.
Not bad for only being on day two! I have the jar in a location which gets a lot of sunlight. This light helps the process of forming crystals go faster and produce more. The rock is still fully submerged, but as the vinegar evaporates, I should see more crystals form on the rock itself.
For anyone who doesn’t know about Project Aragonite, read through my tag, and the introduction post for how I am growing aragonite crystals.
I’m preparing Project Aragonite. I have a glass bowl, my popcorn rock, and some vinegar. That’s how easy it is to set up!
As I said in my introduction, all you’ll need to do is place your popcorn rock in the glass jar/bowl and fill it up until the rock is fully submerged.
Then just place it in a sunny spot (this helps speed up the growth), and boom! You can watch the crystals grow for weeks.
I’ll start gathering photographs soon, so keep a lookout.
I really, really, really love carbonate minerals. Here are my favourites:
Rhodochrosite (photo also contains Quartz and Chalcopyrite)
So a few weeks back (wow, time flies when you’re bloody busy!), I posted about doing a little science experiment for you guys to follow along with. What will I be doing? Growing some aragonite crystals, of course!
Summer is a very busy time for me. A lot goes on, which is why I haven’t had time to actually start this project. I should be able to squeeze it in between travels.
So I thought I’d start with a little introduction on the mineral aragonite, and how this process should go. The best part is, this can be easily done by anyone!
First off, aragonite is carbonate mineral (my favourite category!) and turns into calcite over time if it is exposed to normal temperatures and pressures we live in. Why? Because aragonite is a mineral that forms in oceans and other wet environments (like caves, for example) that needs warm/hot waters. I have many aragonite specimens that are partially now calcite. You will see aragonite a lot in fossils (and calcite). Ammonites are a great example of being replaced with aragonite. Here’s some more information on aragonite if you’d like to know more of the technical stuff.
How will I be growing this mineral?
With popcorn rocks, of course! These are great, cheap, and easy to purchase. You can find them online or at museums (where mine is coming from). A popcorn rock is limestone found in Utah, which is mostly composed of Calcium Carbonate (CaCo3) minerals, calcite and aragonite. The one I’ll be using is this brand (not my actual specimen):
It should hopefully turn out to look something like this after a few weeks. Every rock is different, so we’ll see how mine turns out. I’ve grown many crystals over the years, and you’ll never get similar results!
How will this process go?
I do not want to give everything away, because then what’s the point of posting about it while it happens? You could easily find everything I’ll talk about online, but I think it’ll be fun for everyone involved to watch the minerals form.
Basically I’ll get some distilled white vinegar, throw that little guy in a clear glass container (fully submerged), put it in the sunlight, and just let it sit for a few weeks! Pretty simple, right? I will take photos everyday and post updates either once a day, or maybe once every few days depending how slow the process is. The first few days should not yield many crystals so I may not post much other than text updates, for example.
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I’m trying to post more original science content that I have written/done instead of posting everyone else’s that you can easily read on their site. I’ll still post articles with some additional comments I have from time to time, but I’d like to write up more posts for you guys. If I don’t have time to write anything up or add my own comments, then I’ll just post stuff for you guys to read! Original content is good stuff.
I’ll be posting anything involving this process under the tag #project aragonite. That way, you’ll be able to find all posts associated with this project! I hope you guys will enjoy this and maybe even try it yourself sometime.
So, as many of you may know, I’ve barely been on Tumblr for the last month because real life tends to be the top priority. I’ve had my queue on (okay, it’s on 24/7 no matter what), which has been of help keeping my blog from looking like a desert. With that, I haven’t had time to finish writing or start any good/new science-y posts. But to make up for that, I thought I’d document a little DIY experiment for everyone - which is something you can do at home too!
There are many ways to grow crystals yourself. You can find websites all over the internet, videos on YouTube, and goodness knows where else. Some ways are much easier than others, and I thought I’d show you guys a very basic and easy-to-do way of growing some awesome aragonite crystals!
I have not started the process just yet because I wanted to ask my followers if they’d be interested in watching a day-by-day process (with photos) and my explanation of what is happening, and how you can do it. I may not be able to start this experiment tomorrow, but I would like to within the next few weeks when my schedule has calmed down. Summer is when a lot of stuff is going on (anyone signed up for some fossil digs!? [that reminds me, I still need to write up that directory for digging with museums!]), so my blog’s going to be pretty wonky when it comes to scheduled posts. The crystal growing process is something that will be fun for everyone to watch, and maybe get you guys inspired to try it out yourself.
So tell me, would anyone want to watch me grow some aragonite?
After my first photoset which showcased six of my favourite minerals was surprisingly successful, I’ve decided to continue listing my favourites.