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Origins of Natural Stone Tiles

Natural Stone what is it and where does it come from?


Natural stone is classified by three main groups: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic rocks and all differ in appearance and chemical characteristics.

Igneous Rock
Formed through liquid magma that cooled down and solidified within or upon the earths crust. Depending on the location of hardening, three groups of igneous stones can be distinguished: Extrusive, Intrusive and Minor Intrusive. Extrusive Rock Are Igneous rocks formed by crystallizing magma at or near the Earth's surface. These are characterised by fine-grained textures because their rapid cooling at or near the surface of the Earth did not provide enough time for large crystals to grow. Sometimes air bubbles may be visible on the surface of the stone. The most common extrusive rock is Basalt.

Intrusive Rock Igneous rocks formed by the cooling down of magma, under constant pressure and at depth within the Earth, are called intrusive rocks. They have a course grained appearance with visible (large) crystals: The magma cools much slower deep in the Earth and this enables the crystals to grow larger. This rock is only exposed at the surface when the overlying rock has been eroded. The most common intrusive rock is Granite.

Sedimentary Rock
Sedimentary rock formation involves a variety of sediments that include, layers of mud or tiny grains of sand, broken pieces of rock or fragmented seashells and plant or animal remains, which are either laid down by gravity or transported by water, wind or other agents of weathering and erosion to a destination where they are deposited. These sediments usually deposit in layers (called strata) where they become cemented or compacted together over time, forming a solid sedimentary rock. Based on the origin of the sediments, sedimentary stones can be divided into the following examples:

Limestone is a sedimentary chemical and organic rock, created by the cementing of water bodies with organisms, such as corals and sea shells

Sandstone is a sedimentary clastic rock, created by the cementing of eroded grains of igneous rock and mineral fragments

Metamorphic Rock
Metamorphic rock is normally sedimentary or igneous and occasionally metamorphosed metamorphic rock that has been altered by extreme heat and/or pressure. During this process, a chemical alteration of the stone's elements takes place

that leads to mineralogical and textural changes. This process changes the characteristics of the original rock type, to the following examples of metamorphosed rock: Quartzite is a metamorphic rock, created by heat and pressure from sandstone, which was originally a sedimentary rock Marble is a metamorphic rock, created by heat and pressure from limestone, which was originally a sedimentary stone Slate is a metamorphic rock, created by heat and pressure from finely ground rock mud sediment, originally sedimentary mudstone and shale Gneiss is a metamorphic rock, which can be created from a variety of source rocks, through heat and pressure and they include; Granite : originally Igneous Sandstone : originally sedimentary Slate : originally metamorphic but continual metamorphism and re-crystallisation into a Gneiss.