Ice – Day 7 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

This holiday season, why not get a mineral every day instead of chocolate? Today’s mineral is Ice find out more about it below..

So at this point you might be looking at the screen and going – ‘ICE?! That’s not a mineral!’ But in fact it is – it’s just a mineral with a really low melting point, so it’s one of the few minerals that you can not only see commonly in its natural form, you can also synthesise it too! Yes, you can create your own mineral synthesising environment by filling a tray with water and putting it in your freezer. And although this is still ‘ice as a mineral’, because you force the mineral to grow in an unnatural environment, it rarely forms the kind of structures you would associate with natural ice crystals. And as it is #MicroscopyMonday, what better way to look at ice than through a microscope.

There are two types of ice that I relate to the season; the first is natural, falls from the sky and I very rarely get to see in the UK. Yes I am talking about snow, and if you have never seen a snowflake through a microscope you are in for a treat, because they are exceptionally beautiful.

Absolutey gorgeous photos of the stellar dendrites form of ice, please visit Kenneth Libbrecht's webpage form more spectacular imagery.

Absolutey gorgeous photos of the stellar dendrites form of ice, please visit Kenneth Libbrecht’s webpage form more spectacular imagery.

The second type of ice we see commonly at this time of year comes out of tub in your freezer (my favourite is chocolate – obviously!) and this photo is one taken by Steve Furzeland for some research being done at the Electron Microscopy Centre in Plymouth – yes, it’s ICE CREAM!

A great image of an ice crsytal in Ice Cream, taken by the Plymouth University Electron Microscopy Centre.

A great image of an ice crsytal in Ice Cream, taken by the Plymouth University Electron Microscopy Centre.

 Ice:

Chemical formula: H2O
Colour: Colourless to white
System: Hexagonal
Hardness (Mohs):
Can you find it in the UK? Er, yes? Seriously, you even have to ask!!

Ice. It gets everywhere! (image from prettymyparty.com)

Ice. It gets everywhere! (image from decoration idea supplied on prettymyparty.com)

There are many forms of ice beyond the branching six-sided (because they are hexagonal – get it?) shapes so as I say go back and look at Kenneth Libbrecht’s website for more forms.

For more information about Ice please visit the MinDat website.

Check out more Plymouth University Electron Microscopy images here.

One thought on “Ice – Day 7 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

  1. Pingback: Halite – Day 23 of the Mineral Advent Calendar | My Patchwork Planet

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