Rocks…They Can Kill Ya…Really

By  | June 7, 2018 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

Have you ever wondered about rocks.  Just how dangerous are they…besides being beaned in the head by one I mean.

For your information and safety 10 of the most dangerous rocks:

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Number 10 on the list: Coloradoite…Coloradoite is a recently discovered crystalline mineral originating in magma veins. The mineral is a mercury telluride compound formed when mercury fuses with tellurium, another extremely toxic and rare metal. Coloradoite therefore poses a doubly toxic threat to anyone daring to handle it. The combination of the two elements poses the risk of serious poisoning if carelessly handled. If heated or chemically altered, deadly vapor and dust is released by this strange mineral.

 

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Number 9 on the list:  Chalcanthite…Seductive blue chalcanthite crystals are composed of copper, combined with sulfur and other elements and water. This arrangement turns copper, which is required by the body but toxic in excess quantities, into an extremely bio-available crystal. In another words, the copper becomes water soluble, and may be assimilated in great quantities by any plant or animal, rapidly weakening it and then killing it by shutting down body processes.

 

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Number 8 on the list:  Hutchinsonite…Hutchinsonite is a sulfosalt mineral of thallium, arsenic and lead with formula (Tl,Pb)2As5S9. Hutchinsonite is a rare hydrothermal mineral and can cause loss of hair, serious illness through skin contact and in many cases, death.  Hutchinsonite was named after John Hutchinson, a prominent mineralogist from Cambridge University. The mineral is found in mountainous regions of Europe, most frequently in ore deposits.

 

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Number 7 on the list:  Galena…Galena is the principle ore of lead, and forms glistening silver cubes with almost unnaturally perfect shapes. Although lead is normally extremely flexible, the sulfur content of galena makes it extraordinarily brittle and reactive to chemical treatment. Galena is capable of taking an equally heavy toll on workers and amateur researchers who are exposed to it. Contact with specimens may lead to lead dust exposure, while workers in mines face a high risk of poisoning from contact with the mineral and the deadly dusts released through production.

 

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Number 6 on the list:  Asbestos Chrysotile and Amphibolite…Asbestos is not a manmade product, but one of most terrifying minerals on the planet. Where other minerals act as toxins through their chemistry and sicken victims of accidental poisoning, Asbestos conducts full scale mechanical sabotage on the human lung. Asbestos is a fully natural category of minerals composed of silica the most abundant of Earth’s hard elements, iron, sodium and oxygen. Asbestos deposits consist of aggregates of thousands of tiny, fibrous crystals that can become airborne and lodged in the human lung.

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Number 5 on the list:  Arsenopyrite…Arsenopyrite is fool’s gold, but with a difference. One would not just be a fool to mistake it for gold. Equally foolish would be a decision to pick up this mineral on a hike at a quarry, and proceed to use your hands to put trail mix in your mouth. Arsenopyrite is arsenic iron sulfide, which is the same type of mineral as pyrite (fool’s gold, iron sulfide), but with a heavy addition of arsenic. If one attempts to heat or in any way alter the mineral, a strong garlic odor of arsenic will be produced as lethally toxic, corrosive and carcinogenic vapors are released.

 

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Number 4 on the list:  Torbernite…Torbernite is the mineral from hell. The prism shaped green crystals form as secondary deposits in granitic rocks, and are composed of uranium. Formed through a complex reaction between phosphorous, copper, water and uranium, the stunning crystal displays have seduced many mineral collectors into taking a sample for a shelf collection. If the uranium decay from a pocket sized Chernobyl were not enough, lethal radon gas capable of causing lung cancer slowly releases from these hot rocks. This is one crystal to leave alone.

 

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Number 3 on the list:  Stibnite…Stibnite is antimony sulfide, but it looks like silver. For that reason, the huge, shining metallic crystals of this unstable compound were once fashioned into magnificent eating utensils. But the sword shaped crystals bore the powers of death to those who used them. Stibnite’s antimony laced crystals killed a number of people before it became known that use of the mineral was causing food poisoning of the worst kind. Even in collections, stibnite samples should be handled with great caution to avoid poisoning. Hand washing is advisable after any contact.

 

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Number 2 on the list:  Orpiment…The only thing worse than arsenic itself could be a rock made from arsenic and sulfur. The lethal and chemically reactive orpiment crystals are found growing below the surface in mineral formations, often near hydrothermal vents. The colors are seductive, but holding the crystals in your hands may release carcinogenic, neurotoxic arsenic powder. Like cinnabar, the Chinese made extensive use of this mineral, but to far more terrifying ends. Arrows would be rubbed on crushed samples of these stones and then launched to poison the enemy in a rather fancy way to throw a rock. Orpiment is known to give off a strong garlic smell due to its arsenic content, and may crumble into dangerous powder when exposed to light.

 

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Number 1 on the list:  Cinnabar…Cinnabar (mercury sulfide) is the single most toxic mineral to handle on Earth. The name of the crystal means dragons blood, and it is the main ore of mercury. Forming near volcanos and sulfur deposits, the bright red crystals signal danger of the worst kind. Cinnabar may release pure mercury if disturbed or heated, causing tremors, loss of sensation and death. In the Middle Ages and late 1700s, being sent to work in Spanish mines containing cinnabar formations was widely considered a death sentence.

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