Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Some roses are growing in the desert

Desert Rose is the name given to rosette formations of the minerals gypsum and barite with sand inclusions. The 'petals' are crystals flattened, fanning open along characteristic gypsum cleavage planes. The rosette crystal habit tends to occur when the crystals form in arid sandy conditions, such as the evaporation of a shallow salt basin.

Desert roses are mineral formations that are found on the surface and are beautiful examples of the natural power of the shaping forces of wind, water and pressure in dry, arid regions. These formations are also called Sand Roses, Rose Rocks, Selenite Roses, Gypsum Roses, and Barite Roses.

Native American stories told us that these were rocks carved into flowers by our ancestors to let us know they were here before us. Desert Roses take on the color of the sand because Selenite is a fibrous mineral and fine sand becomes trapped between the fibers as it crystallizes.

Desert roses are only found in deserts, which is how they got the name. Gypsum Selenite Desert Roses are mostly from the Sahara Middle East Region, Southwest USA and Mexico. The Barite Rose Rocks are more abundant in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the world and are the state rock of Oklahoma. Once these rock formations reach the surface, they are eroded quickly by the forces of wind and water. The quality of the specimen reflects how quickly it was collected.

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