This 546 gram cube represents the amount of aluminum in bauxite (catalog number 162044) and granite (catalog number 116626-3). There is much more granite than bauxite in Earth's crust. But only bauxite is the ore. Why? Aluminum is far more easily and cheaply extracted from bauxite than from granite. Lightweight and corrosion resistant, aluminum is used for making cars and buildings, packaging materials, and aircraft.
Asphalt is a tarlike hydrocarbon mixture that is solid or semisolid at room temperature. It is heated and combined with aggregate (crushed stone, or sand and gravel) to form the familiar material that paves most roads. Most asphalt is made by evaporating crude oil.
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used concrete, a synthetic rock made of aggregate (crushed stone, or sand and gravel). Heating limestone, clay, and silica to 1,425°C (2,600°F) makes cement, the glue in concrete. Combining cement, aggregate, and water forms concrete.
Scientists aboard the U.S. research submersible Alvin collected this sea-floor chimney using the submersible's robotic arms. The knobbed, conical shape was built up by minerals precipitated at a black smoker vent.