The Amazing Flexible Natural Rock Itacolumite

When you think of rocks, you probably have in mind a substance that is natural, but rigidly inflexible. Even rocks as soft as talc will break if you try to bend them. However, Itacolumite is a naturally occurring rock that defies this perception.

Itacolumite is a kind of yellowish sandstone. It is porous, but the same could be said of other sandstones and other rocks. It is neither rare nor common but is found in abundance in Brazil, India, North Carolina, Georgia, and Idaho.

This rock contains mica, but is otherwise unremarkable, except for one thing. If the rock is cut into a slab and supported on the ends, it will gradually sag under its own weight. If it is cut even thinner, a person can actually bend the stone in their hands.

Geologists aren’t totally certain what allows the rock to bend and sag. At one time, it was thought that the tiny flakes of mica were the cause, allowing the sand in the rock to slide. However, mica is quite rigid and wouldn’t account for the flexibility of the itacolumite sandstone.

The best guess, currently, is that between the porous nature of the sandstone and the structure of this particular kind of sandstone, the rock is able to flex. The point is that though scientists have known about this rock for some time, they still have no firm answers about why it is flexible. Indeed, most sandstone is inflexible and breaks if someone tries to bend it. Mankind is still a very long way from being all-knowing like the Almighty, though.

Still, this is a rather amazing rock and it is quite interesting. It defies our ideas about rocks in general. Rocks are thought of as being hard, but talc refutes that. They are thought to be rigid, but itacolumite refutes that. It seems that there is a great deal yet to learn about this planet we live on.


What do you think?


Written by Rex Trulove

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