Science Fun

Real Glowing Rocks

Did you know that some rocks can glow? In this quick geology demonstration we will explore quartz and its unique and outrageous ability to glow.

 

Materials:

  • Two pieces of quartz big enough to hold in your hand and rub together.¬†

 

Instructions:

  1. Find or source two pieces of quartz that are as clear as possible.
  2. Make sure you can hold a piece of quartz in each hand in a way that you can rub them together vigorously.
  3. Orient the flattest sides of each piece of quartz towards each other.
  4.  Find a dark room and rub the quartz together to observe the real glowing rocks.
  5. Notice the smell coming from the real glowing rocks. 

 

 

WATCH THE QUICK VIDEO TUTORIAL

 

 

How it Works:

The light produced when rubbing the quartz together is a phenomenon called triboluminescence which make the quartz appear to glow and sparkle. 

 

Make This A Science Project:

Try rubbing many different types of quartz together and observe any differences. Does heating or cooling the quartz produce noticeable changes? Are there other ways to observe the triboluminescence phenomenon in quartz that does not involve rubbing the quartz together? Hypothesize what causes the smell associated with triboluminescence. 

 

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