Basalt vs Granite: What are the differences?

There are different types of rocks found on the earth, and they have unique properties. Some rocks are harder than others, some are more durable, and some are more attractive.

When choosing rocks for landscaping, remodeling, or construction projects, it is important to choose the right type of rock.

Basalt and granite are two of the most popular rocks on the market. They are both durable and have a high visual appeal.

However, there are some key differences between the two that should be considered before making a decision.

What is Basalt?

Basalt is a dark-colored, fine-grained, highly hard igneous rock. It is made up of plagioclase, pyroxene, and magnetite minerals. Both pyroxene and magnetite in basalt are iron-rich, and this gives the rock its dark color.

Basalt, igneous rock

Basalt is formed when hot lava cooled quickly on the surface of the earth. This type of lava is called felsic, and it is rich in silica. Basalt is the most common rock found in the Earth’s crust.

Basalt is a very tough rock and is difficult to break or chip. It often occurs as an extrusive rock, which means it is formed from lava that has cooled on the surface of the earth.

It is a very common rock and can be found all over the world. However, it is most commonly found in areas that have a lot of volcanic activity.

The reason for this is that basalt is formed from lava, and volcanic eruptions are the most common way for lava to reach the surface of the earth.

Chemistry of Basalt 

Basalts are principally made of magnesium oxide (MgO), calcium oxide (CaO), and silicon dioxide (SiO2).

They also contain small amounts of iron oxide (Fe2O3), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), and potassium oxide (K2O).

The exact composition of basalt varies depending on where it is found. For example, certain basalts found in Hawaii have a high percentage of MgO, while others have a higher percentage of SiO2.

Also, depending on the location, basalt can be found in a range of colors. For example, basalts from Hawaii are often black or greenish-black, while those from Iceland are typically deep red.

Uses Of Basalt

Basalt is a very versatile rock and is used for a variety of purposes. It is most commonly used as an aggregate, which is a crushed rock that is used to create pavement, concrete, and other materials.

It is also used in construction projects and as a filler in asphalt. In addition, basalt is sometimes used as a decorative stone. It can be used in landscaping projects and as a building material.

That means basalt can be used as an ornamental rock in gardens and landscaping, as well as a construction aggregate in driveways, paths, steps, and patios.

basalt ground tile

Basalt has several industrial applications including thermal insulation and soundproofing. Basalt fibers are used to make composite materials such as fiberglass and carbon fiber.

Basalt is also used in the production of cast stone and as a filter for water and sewage treatment. Since it is a very hard rock, it is also used in the production of grindstones, abrasives, and polishes.

Basalt’s high abrasion resistance, compressive strength, and chemical resistance make it an ideal rock for many industrial applications.

Basalt fibers are superior to other fibers in terms of thermal stability, heat and sound insulation qualities, vibration resistance, and durability. In this way, they are used in the aerospace and automotive industries.

For example, basalt fibers are used to reinforce composite materials in the production of aircraft, spaceships, and automobiles.

More specifically, basalt fibers are used in the production of brakes, clutches, and other car parts that must withstand high temperatures.

Muffler systems in cars and other vehicles also use basalt for its sound-deadening qualities. Basalt continuous fibers open up the possibility of a completely new scope of composite materials and products.

As they have no toxic reactions with air or water and don’t rot, they find applications in the construction of buildings, bridges, and environmental engineering structures.

The non-combustible nature of basalt fibers also makes them an ideal material for fireproofing. For example, they are used in the production of fire blankets and fireproofing fabrics.

The non-conducting nature of basalt fibers also makes them ideal for electrical insulation. In this way, they are used in the production of printed circuit boards.

Other uses of basalt include railroad ballast, cobblestones, riprap, and sewage sludge aggregate.

It is also used to make high-quality textile fibers, floor tiles, acid-resistant industrial equipment, rock wool, basalt plastic reinforcement bars, and roofing felt.

Mechanical Properties Of Basalt

Basalt is a very strong rock. According to the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is used to measure the hardness of minerals, basalt is a 6 out of 10, which means it is harder than platinum and iron.

What is Granite?

Granite is a hard, igneous rock that is made up of quartz, feldspar, and mica minerals.

Granite Rocks from Granite Mining

It is a widely used construction stone because it is durable and has a high visual appeal.

Granite typically has a medium to coarse grain texture and can be found in a range of colors. The most common colors are gray, white, pink, and black.

colors of granite

Granite is a very tough rock and is difficult to break or chip. It often occurs as an intrusive rock, which means it is formed from magma that has cooled underground.

It is a very common rock and can be found all over the world. However, it is most commonly found in areas that have a lot of igneous activity.

Chemistry of Granite 

Granites are principally made of quartz, feldspar, and mica. They also contain small amounts of amphibole minerals such as hornblende or biotite.

The exact composition of granite varies depending on the location. For example, some granites from Brazil have a higher percentage of quartz, while others have a higher percentage of feldspar.

Uses of Granite 

Granite is most commonly used as a construction stone. It is cut into large blocks and used as a foundation stone or to make walls, floors, and countertops.

kitchen with Island with granite countertops

Granite is also used in sculpture and as a decorative stone. It can be polished to create a shiny surface or left unpolished for a more natural look.

Artist checking granite sculpture

In addition, granite is sometimes used in the production of asphalt and as a filter material in water treatment plants. It can also be crushed and used as an aggregate for pavement, concrete, and other materials.

Granite has been used as a building material for centuries. It is durable and has a high visual appeal, which makes it an ideal material for construction.

Due to its strength, granite is often used as a foundation stone or to make walls, floors, and countertops.

Granite flooring is also popular and commonly used in flooring, tiling, and other applications due to its durability and high visual appeal.

Mechanical Properties Of Granite

Granite is a very strong rock. According to the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is used to measure the hardness of minerals, granite is a 6.5 out of 10, which means it is harder than Basalt.

Basalt vs. Granite: Comparison

So, what’s the difference between basalt and granite? Both rocks are used in a variety of ways, but they have some key differences.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key differences between basalt and granite:

Forming

Basalt is a fine-grained, extrusive rock comprised of mostly mafic minerals. Granite is a coarse-grained, intrusive rock comprised of mostly felsic minerals.

Extrusive rocks are formed at the Earth’s surface, while intrusive rocks are formed below the surface. Therefore, their grain maturity and grain size are different due to the different cooling rates.

Extrusive rocks form faster than intrusive rocks giving them a typical porphyritic texture.

On the other hand, intrusive rock forms slowly, allowing large crystals to form, giving it a phaneritic texture.

Composition

Basalt is made up of pyroxene, plagioclase, and olivine minerals. In contrast, granite is made up of quartz, feldspar, and mica minerals.

Both rocks are composed of other minerals as well, but these are the most common. The exact composition of each rock varies depending on the location.

However, in general, basalt is darker and has a more glassy appearance, while granite is lighter and has a more grainy appearance.

The reason for this is the different cooling rates of the two rocks. Basalt cools quickly, which doesn’t allow for large crystals to form. On the other hand, granite cools slowly, allowing for large crystals to form.

Reserves

Basalt underpins more of the Earth’s surface than any other rock type. Most of the ocean floor is made up of basalt. Therefore, it is the most common rock type in the Earth’s crust.

Basalt Columns on Ocean Shore

In contrast, granite is less common than basalt. However, granite is still widely distributed throughout the Earth’s crust. In terms of scarcity, granite is rarer than basalt.

Color

Basalt is typically darker because it is made up of more mafic minerals, which are darker in color. In contrast, granite is typically lighter because it is made up of more felsic minerals, which are lighter in color.

The exact color of each rock varies depending on the location, the composition, and the grain size.

The most common colors of basalt are black, gray, and brown. The most common colors of granite are pink, white, and gray.

That said, it is worth noting that both rocks can occur in a wide range of colors that are not mentioned here.

Uses

Basalt is most commonly used as an aggregate or filler. Since it is strong, it can be used for highways, pavement, and concrete. It can also be used as railroad ballast.

For this type of use, basalt is typically crushed into smaller pieces. Then, it is mixed and laid down in layers to create a strong foundation or base.

However, if you think basalt is only used for this type of purpose, then you’re wrong. Basalt is a much versatile rock, and it has a wide range of uses we covered earlier.

It can be used in construction projects for countertops, floors, and other decorative purposes. It can also be used in jewelry or art.

There is a large industrial demand for basalt. Because it is needed in a variety of industries from automotive to aerospace.

Granite is commonly used in construction projects such as floors, countertops, and walls. Since it is a hard rock, it is also used in a variety of outdoor applications such as paving and landscaping.

It can be shaped into different sizes and designs for a wide range of uses. For example, it can be used for monuments, tombstones, ornaments, vases, and other decorative objects.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that granite is primarily used for decorative purposes. It doesn’t have much industrial demand. But, it still does have a wide range of commercial uses.

Durability

Both basalt and granite are strong and durable rocks. However, granite is slightly more durable than basalt when it comes to scratch resistance and heat resistance.

The reason for this is that granite has a higher quartz content, which makes it more resistant to scratches and heat.

On the other hand, basalt is more durable than granite when it comes to load-bearing capacity. The reason for this is that basalt has lower porosity and is, therefore, better able to withstand the weight of heavy objects.

In terms of overall durability, both rocks are quite strong and resistant to weathering and wear.

Cost

The cost of basalt and granite varies depending on the location, the type of rock, and the purpose. In general, basalt is more affordable than granite.

This is because basalt is more abundant than granite. It is also easier to extract and process.

However, the cost of granite can be cheaper than basalt if it is extracted and processed in certain locations.

It is also worth noting that the cost of each rock will vary depending on the purpose. For example, granite countertops will be more expensive than basalt countertops because granite is more sought-after for this type of use.

Ultimately, the cost of basalt and granite varies depending on a variety of factors. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to contact a local supplier.

So, there you have a quick overview of the key differences between basalt and granite.

As you can see, both rocks have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider your specific needs and requirements.

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