Fun Link Friday: Cherry-Blossom Stones (Sakura Ishi)

For the science enthusiasts among us, I present sakura ishi, the “cherry-blossom stone.”

Dr. John Rakovan of Miami University (Ohio) has published work on these stones which occur in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture.

Science Alert describes them as

So-called because when you crack them open, their internal cross-sections look like tiny golden-pink flowers, cherry blossom stones (sakura ishi in Japanese) get their beautiful patterns from mica, which is a commonly found silicate mineral known for its shiny, light-reflecting surface.

These flower patterns weren’t always made of mica. They started their existence as a complex matrix of six prism-shaped crystal deposits of a magnesium-iron-aluminium composite called cordierite, radiating out from a single dumbbell-shaped crystal made from a magnesium-aluminium-silicate composite called indialite in the centre.

“Although the sakura are ephemeral in their beauty, lasting only a few weeks each year,” says Rakovan, “their image has been set in stone in the sakura ishi of Kameoka.”

Via Amusing Planet, via Science Alert, via Taylor & Francis Online

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