Galena with Calopirita and piromorfita in Quartz by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

All of us, at some time in our lives, have had the dream of traveling through outer space. It would be amazing to be able to travel to an unknown planet or visit that bright star that we observe in the night sky.  Just the opportunity to look at planet Earth from space would be something stupendous, an image that few privileged astronauts have ever kept in their consciousness and that no photograph will ever be able to reproduce the original feeling.

We surely inhabit the most beautiful planet in the solar system. The only planet with liquid water, covering about 70% of its surface. The Blue Planet, which, for more than four billion years, has been evolving and making life possible, in ever more complex forms, reaching this one, who writes and reads this text, which is the human way of being.

fluorite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Humans are the only living beings that have the capacity to understand their existence on this Planet. Through scientific knowledge, we know that the Earth coexists and relates to an infinity of other celestial bodies: stars, planets, natural satellites, comets, black holes... we also understand what our planet looks like from the inside. Through direct and indirect means, we get to know the internal structure of the Earth and further differentiate it into Crust, Mantle and Core.

The Earth's crust is where life happens; it is our ground. It is the outermost layer of the Earth, ranging in thickness from 30 to 80 km. It is so well known that we explore it directly. In this layer, plants take root, animals build their homes, and men and women extract everything they need to live, from food to building materials, from fuels to the minerals used in modern industry.

This surface layer of the Earth is formed by solid bodies known as rocks. They originate in magmatic, sedimentary, or metamorphic processes and are composed of minerals. Minerals, in turn, are inorganic substances originating from physical-chemical processes inherent to the evolution of the Earth and the Universe. Mineralogical properties, such as: color, brightness, hardness, cleavage, trace, among others, impress the human eye and stimulate the perception of the physical world. 

Agate by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

For a long time, human beings have known and used the properties of minerals. Be it for making their first tools or even in the most complex and technological applications of today's industry. Minerals are made up of what we call matter, which is nothing more than particles and atoms, with an infinitesimally small structure, and which are present in simply everything that exists in the cosmos.

The matter that forms the minerals present here on Earth, is also the matter that forms the minerals of the unknown planet or bright star. So, to understand what exists outside the Earth, we can seek, in the mineralogy of our Planet, the very essence of what constitutes the Universe.

If we want to feel a little of the experience of traveling through the universe and know a little of what is in it, why not start by observing the rocks and minerals that are present here on Planet Earth?

Quartz by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Quartz

Quartz is one of the most common
and widespread minerals in the earth's crust. It is a fundamental element of
all rock types. It has a glassy luster and can crystallize in the rhombohedral
system with crystals in the form of a prism or pyramid. Hardness is another
quality of this mineral, rated 7 on the Mohs scale, which goes from 0 to 10. 

Quartz by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Another characteristic of quartz is its piezoelectricity, which is the property of generating electrical voltage as a response to mechanical pressure. For these reasons, quartz has great application in industry, from the manufacture of electronic circuits, computers and fiber optics to the production of glass and ceramics.

Amethyst by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Amethyst

This is a variety of purple quartz, due to the presence of iron. It gives rise to small, beautiful crystals that resemble the shape of pyramids. Its occurrence is mainly related to volcanic processes. Its glassy luster and color make amethyst a mineral in great demand by the jewelry industry. Brazil is the world's largest producer of this mineral.

citrus by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

CITRINE

This is a variety of quartz with a yellowish color due to the presence of trivalent iron. Most of the Citrine commercialized is obtained by heating amethyst. Brazil is the world's largest producer of this mineral.

Onyx by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

ONYX

Important variety of chalcedony, a type of quartz. Dark in color, it can present white stripes and reddish tones. This mineral is in great demand by the jewelry industry. It was already used, in ancient times, as a therapeutic mineral.

Agate by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

AGATE

Here we have a beautiful and important variety of chalcedony. It is formed mainly in the cavities of volcanic rocks and usually has its colors distributed in parallel or concentric bands.

It has been used as jewelry for more than 3 thousand years. Brazil is the world's largest producer of Agate.

Volcanic lava by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

LAVA

Volcanoes are geological phenomena that overflow magmatic material originating from the depths of our planet. Magma is nothing more than melted rock, also called volcanic lava when it spills over the Earth's surface.

Basalt by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

BASALT

Volcanic lava solidified on the earth's surface can become a dark colored rock called basalt. It is widely used in civil construction to make the gravel that covers streets and avenues in the cities.

Agate with Quartz by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

GEODE

Spherical cavity of quartz crystals very common in basaltic rocks.

This cavity is formed by gas bubbles that can later be filled by other minerals in hydrothermal solutions, giving rise to crystals inside this hollow chamber.

Granite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Granite

Granite is one of the most common rocks in the continental earth's crust. It is formed by the slow solidification of magma in deep areas of the lithosphere, without contact with the Earth's surface. Because of its slow crystallization, the constituent minerals of granite are visible to the naked eye, forming a porphyritic or granular texture, giving the true impression of several grains united in the rock. The main application of granite is in civil construction, being used in the manufacture of floors and sink countertops.

Granite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Granite specimens for use in construction.

Natural asphalt by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Petroleum/Asphalt 

Here is one of the ways that petroleum can be found in nature. Petroleum is the main source of energy on our planet, from which gasoline, diesel and kerosene are extracted. All these fuels are responsible for the movement of the fleet of cars, trucks, ships and airplanes, which make possible the flow of goods and people over the earth's surface. As petroleum byproducts are also obtained: asphalt, plastics, rubber, cosmetics, paints, and many other goods that are fundamental to society. The origin of petroleum is associated with the sedimentation of algae, plankton, and other organisms in the marine environment.

anthracite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Anthracite

Presented here is the highest purity specimen of coal. Anthracite is a type of sedimentary rock formed by the sedimentation of forests and swamps in continental areas. This coal originated from plant remains in regions that were densely forested about 400 million years ago. Coal is the symbol of the Industrial Revolution, being fundamental for the production of steel, which is the raw material for many industrial goods: tools, machines, cars, airplanes, buildings, kitchen utensils. We can also remember the use of coal in the production of electricity and as fertilizer. 

Slate by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

SLATE

Metamorphic rocks are those that arise from the transformation of preexisting rocks when submitted to a change in pressure and temperature.

They are widely used in civil construction for flooring, walls, and the manufacture of tables and countertops.

Slate is a metamorphic rock originated from the transformation of clay, which was hardened in thin layers, presenting a gray color and fine granulation.

Schist by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Schist

Generic name to designate several types of metamorphic rocks that present themselves in the structure of very thin layers.

Husk´s shales have shown potential for the production of the gas and oil that are incremented in the oil production chain. Brazil has the world's second largest reserves, second only to the United States.

gneiss by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Gneiss

Metamorphic rock with
a grayish color and rich in feldspars and quartz. They are basically
differentiated by their structures. Gneisses commonly present lighter bands,
composed of quartz and feldspar, and darker bands, formed especially by
minerals that have iron in their composition.

Sandstone by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Sandstone

Sandstone is one of the best known examples of sedimentary rocks. It is formed essentially of sediments, sand-sized fragments of other rocks. Erosion is the main process responsible for carrying these sediments to low-lying places, commonly called sedimentary basins. In geological time, these basins receive layers upon layers of sediments, which exert pressure on the lower layers, pressure that leads to the process of diagenesis, when the sediments become rock.

varvite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Varvite

This is what
sedimentary rock formed in glacial lakes is called. It is arranged in layers
that define the seasons of the year and prove some climatic and geological
variations on the planet. 

The light layer indicates the summer season when sand and silt, coarser particles, precipitate at the bottom of the lake. The dark layer is formed in winter, when the lake freezes and only fine sediments like clay can precipitate.

Pebble by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Pebble

Rock or mineral sediment that has a rounded appearance. Although there are different classifications, pebbles range from 2 to 64 millimeters in diameter. The rounded shape is, in most cases, due to transportation by rivers, which transforms a material full of vertices and edges into something spheroidal.

Stalactite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Stalactite

Caves are natural cavities in the lithosphere that allow access to humans

They are surely one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth.

On their roofs, water enriched with calcium carbonate drips down, seeping from the surface into the cave and giving rise to stalactites.

Stalagmite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

STALAGMITE

On the floor of the cave, we have stalagmites, which are rock structures that grow towards the ceiling due to the accumulation of calcium carbonate that has been precipitated.

Basin Fossil fish Araripe Turbinaria crispa by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

FOSSIL

Fossils are the remains or traces of animals and plants that were preserved in rocks.

They are true records of the ancient life of our planet.

From the study of fossils, it was possible to prove several natural events, such as the evolution of species and the movement of continents. Here we have a beautiful fossil of a fish.

Amber by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Amber

Amorphous
mineralolide (without defined form) of yellowish color. It is a fossil resin,
formed by various substances soluble in chlorine, ether and alcohol. It can
contain air bubbles, plant remains, and even insects in its internal structure. 

It is used as a gemstone in the jewelry industry. It has never been found in Brazil. The world's largest producers are Germany and Russia.

Calcite - Calcium Ore by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Calcite

Colorless mineral, commonly
white, with vitreous luster and low hardness (3.0), being easily scratched with
a razor. It presents perfect cleavage, it will always break into equal pieces,
even at the microscopic level we will see that its shape is maintained. Calcite
is a carbonate found throughout the world. Very soluble, it is used to make
cement, mortar, and paint.

A curiosity about this mineral is that even if you hit it with a hammer on it, it will always break in this shape, as if it had been cut on a knife.

Even if you get the size of sand and look at it with a magnifying glass or microscope, you can see that the shape of it always remains the same.

Gypsum by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Gypsum

One of the most
fragile minerals in nature, hardness 2 on the mohs scale. It has a white or
colorless color. Its luster is silky, glassy, or pearly. Gypsum is very present
in meteorites that reach the Earth.

It is widely used in the manufacture of cement, plaster, chalk, glass, enamels, and sulfuric acid.

The largest producers are Great Britain, Egypt, and Mexico.

lunarian by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

SELENITE

A colorless variation of gypsum, its name comes from the Greek Selene (Moon) because of its white reflections. Its crystals are used to manufacture microscopes.

Dolomite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

DOLOMITE

Very common mineral in the earth's crust, and also present in meteorites. Used as thermal insulator and ornamental stone.

It has a hardness of 3.5 to 4.5 mohs and forms rhombohedral crystals.

Its name comes from an homage to the French chemist Gratet de Dolomieu.

sodalite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Sodalite

It has this name because it has
sodium in its chemical composition. Generally, its specimens have a beautiful
and distinctive blue color. It is widely used as a gemstone for the jewelry
industry or in ornamental articles. Brazil is the world's largest producer.

Halite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Halite

It is the famous
sodium chloride NaCl, also known as rock salt. A mineral of low hardness,
easily scratched with the fingernail, and that presents a cubic crystalline
habit, that is, its crystals have the shape of a cube. 

Since the early days, it has been used as a seasoning in human food to make chlorine and caustic soda.

muscovite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Muscovite

Most common mineral of
the Mica group. Mica is the group of minerals that have a foliated crystalline
habit, that's right, its crystals are like leaves or scales, and the basal
cleavage, that is, the mineral always breaks into sheets. 

Very common in igneous and metamorphic rocks, Muscovite is widely used as a thermal insulator, since it has null heat conductivity.

biotite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Biotite

It is also a mineral from the Mica group. Often confused with
Muscovite, it can be differentiated by its chemical composition, dark color and
greater flexibility.

Talc by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Talc

This is the mineral
with the lowest hardness found in the lithosphere (1 mohs). It can crumble with
the simple touch and pressure of hands. It has a whitish color and pearly
luster. Very important for the cosmetics industry, because when used in powder
form it generates products to treat skin and, mainly, for baby care.

Talc is the main component of soapstone, a rock that, in Brazil, became famous for the sculptures by the artist Aleijadinho.

Galena with Calopirita and piromorfita in Quartz by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Galena

Here we have a sample
of Galena (dark part) associated with quartz (light part). The Galena mineral
is responsible for the production of lead, it is presented in cubic crystals
with a strong metallic luster that sometimes becomes matte due to oxidation.

If by medical necessity you have to have an X-ray, remember that the protective barrier is a lead plate. Ammunition and batteries, too, are made of lead.

Hematite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Hematite

This is Iron Oxide,
has a gray color, and produces a reddish trace, that is, if it is scratched
against a matte porcelain, it will leave a reddish powder. It is the mineral
that gives rise to iron, elemental to the development of modern industry.

The importance of iron, the raw material for steel, can be seen in all aspects of modern life: tools, machinery, building material, household appliances, transportation, etc.

Pyrite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Pyrite

Pyrite or iron sulfide is the most abundant of all the
sulfides. It is also known as "fool's gold", because in ancient
trading, it could become oxidized with a color similar to gold, only with low
economic value. It crystallizes into magnificent brass-yellow cubes of medium
hardness (6 - 6.5 mohs). It is present in fossils and meteorites. The world's
largest producers are: France, Italy and Germany.

It is also known as "fool's gold", because in ancient trade, pyrite, which when oxidized turns a yellowish color, resembles gold, only with low economic value.

goethite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Goethite

Black or dark brown iron hydroxide. It is used to obtain iron
for the steel metallurgical industry. Its name is a homage to the German poet
Goethe.

goethite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

GOETHITE

Botryoidal goethite mineral with bubble-shaped crystals.

Steel by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

STEEL

It is the most used metal alloy in the world, about 90% of alloys sold on the world market. Formed by iron and carbon, it has thousands of applications in industry. It is characterized, above all, by its resistance and rigidity.

Bauxite - aluminum ore by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Bauxite

Mixture of aluminum oxides. Formed in tropical regions by the leaching of silica, a type of soil scouring, with loss of silica and concentration of metallic minerals. It is the main source of aluminum acquisition.

Aluminum by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Aluminum

Light, ductile, silvery metal, resistant to corrosion and with high electrical conductivity. It is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust. Used in the naval industry, aviation, civil construction, household utensils, packaging, among thousands of other applications.

Concretion Ferrugiminosa - Laterite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

LATERITE

It is a soil concretion with a high concentration of aluminum and iron metals. It is formed by leaching, typical of tropical or humid temperate zones.

Corundum by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Corundum

High hardness aluminum oxide (9 mohs) widely used as
abrasive.  It has a vitreous to
adamantine luster and variable colors. It is used as a gemstone in the jewelry
industry under the name of ruby, when it has a red color, generated by
impurities such as chromium and iron, and sapphire, when it has a blue color,
generated by impurities such as iron and titanium.

Corundum was also widely used for its high hardness as an abrasive.

Tin by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

CASSITERITE (TIN)

Tin is a malleable and ductile metal obtained mainly from the mineral Cassiterite. It is used to make solder, tinplate and bronze.

Native gold Shale by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Gold in Schist 

Like silver and
sulfur, it is a native element that occurs without association with other
chemical elements in nature. It is the most malleable and ductile of the
minerals. With 1 gram of gold, you can get up to 2,000 meters of wire just
0.0001 millimeters thick, and it is a very good conductor of heat and
electricity. 

Gold has historically been used for producing coins, making jewelry, and more recently in the electronics industry. In the picture you can see the gold grains that are present in the rock.

aragonite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

ARAGONITE

Calcium carbonate, the constituent of shells, pearls, and coral reefs. It is white, gray, yellowish, or colorless. It occurs in metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, and is a very common component in shells and various other marine organisms, with important deposits in Spain, from where its name Aragon derives.

aragonite Botroidal by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

Botryoidal aragonite mineral with bubble-like crystals.

sulfur native by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

SULFUR

Crystallizes into beautiful lemon-yellow bipyramidal crystals with an adamantine luster. Poor conductors of heat and electricity. The main sulfur deposits are around volcanoes. Used in the manufacture of gunpowder and sulfuric acid.

fluorite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

FLUORITE


A mineral with worldwide extension, it presents perfect cleavage, that is, when subjected to mechanical force it always breaks into cubic faces. Some fluorite also has the fluorescence phenomenon. Widely used in the chemical industry (manufacture of fluorine), manufacture of glass, enamels, and optical instruments.

chrysocolla by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

CHRYSOCOLLA

This mineral is widely used as a gemstone for jewelry, and especially as a source of Copper. It has a green or bluish color, vitreous luster, and low hardness (2.5). Its name comes from the Greek khrysos (gold) + colla (necklace). It was used in ancient times as a substance to glue gold together.

magnesite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

MAGNESITE


Magnesium carbonate, formed by the alteration of dolomites and limestones in magmatic solution. Used in refractory ceramics, electrical insulators and to obtain magnesium.

Graphite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

GRAPHITE


Carbon based mineral. Gray to black in color, it has perfect cleavage, forming crystals in sheets or grains. It is also present in meteorites. Used in batteries and atomic reactors, it became famous for its use in the manufacture of pencils. Its name comes from the word graphein, for its use in writing.

volborthita by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

VOLBORTHITE

Hydrated basic copper vanadate. Forms globules or tabular crystals of low hardness. Named after the Russian paleontologist Alexander Volborth.

Ankerite with Dolomite by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

ANKERITE WITH DOLOMITE


Calcium and iron carbonate with magnesium and manganese. Mineral formed in ferriferous sandstones with columnar or granular crystalline habit. Here we have a series of ankerite with dolomite. Ankerite is used to obtain iron, and is named after the mineralogist M. J. Anker.

stolzita by SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZILMuseu da Obra Salesiana no Brasil (MOSB)

STOLZITA


Lead wolframate. It is the rarest mineral in the Salesian collection. It was discovered in the Czech Republic and honors Joseph A. Stolz, the first human being to dedicate studies on this mineral.

Credits: Story

SALESIAN INSPECTORATE OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS

Inspector | Priest Justo Ernesto Piccinini -SDB
Treasurer | Priest Luis Otávio Botasso - SDB
Director | Priest Narciso Ferreira - SDB B

SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZIL

Coordinator| Marcos de Lima Moreira
Museology Technician| Andrea Saluceste de Oliveira
Curator| Lucas Gorla
Proofreading| Analu Pandorf Mercante
Technical Proofreading| Fernanda Souto
Text Translation| Júlia de Paolis Amim
Proofreading| Tarcísio dos Santos
Photos| Marcos de Lima Moreira



Mineralogy and its Specimens
Google Initiative and SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZIL
Curatorship and research: Andrea Saluceste, Lucas Gorla and Marcos de Lima Moreira - SALESIAN MUSEUM IN BRAZIL

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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