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Blue Obsidian - Crystal Meanings - Spirit Of ISIS Crystals

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Jump to navigation Jump to search For different makes use of, see Obsidian (disambiguation). ObsidianCommonCategoryVolcanic glassIdentificationColorDeep black or blackish greenFractureConchoidalMohs scale hardness5–6[1]LusterVitreousSpecific gravityc. 2.4[2]Optical propertiesTranslucentOther characteristicsTexture: Smooth; glassyReferences[3]

Obsidian (/əbˈsɪdiən/) is a naturally happening volcanic glass shaped as an extrusive igneous rock.[4]

Obsidian is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools hastily with minimal crystal expansion. It is repeatedly discovered throughout the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows. These flows have a high content of silica, which provides them a top viscosity. The prime viscosity inhibits atomic diffusion during the lava, which inhibits nucleation of mineral crystals. Together with speedy cooling, this ends up in a natural glass forming from the lava.[5]

Obsidian is difficult, brittle, and amorphous; it therefore fractures with sharp edges. In the previous, it was once used to fabricate slicing and piercing gear, and it's been used experimentally as surgical scalpel blades.[6]

Origin and properties

Obsidian talus at Obsidian Dome, California Polished snowflake obsidian, shaped during the inclusion of cristobalite crystals

... a few of the quite a lot of varieties of glass we would possibly reckon Obsidian glass, a substance similar to the stone found via Obsidius[i] in Ethiopia.[7]

— Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia 36,67 (AD 77)

The translation into English of Natural History through Pliny the Elder of Rome includes a few sentences about a volcanic glass known as obsidian (lapis obsidianus), came upon in Ethiopia by means of Obsidius, a Roman explorer.[8][9][10][11]

Obsidian is shaped from briefly cooled lava, which is the mum or dad subject matter.[12][13][14] Extrusive formation of obsidian might happen when felsic lava cools hastily on the edges of a felsic lava go with the flow or volcanic dome, or when lava cools all over sudden contact with water or air. Intrusive formation of obsidian might occur when felsic lava cools along the sides of a dike.[15][16]

Tektites had been as soon as concept by many to be obsidian produced through lunar volcanic eruptions,[17] despite the fact that few scientists now adhere to this hypothesis.[18]

Obsidian is mineral-like, however no longer a true mineral because as a pitcher it is not crystalline; in addition, its composition is too variable to be classified as a mineral. It is every so often categorized as a mineraloid.[19] Though obsidian is in most cases dark in color, very similar to mafic rocks such as basalt, the composition of obsidian is terribly felsic. Obsidian is composed mainly of SiO2 (silicon dioxide), usually 70% through weight or extra. Crystalline rocks with a similar composition come with granite and rhyolite. Because obsidian is metastable on the Earth's floor (through the years the glass devitrifies, becoming fine-grained mineral crystals), obsidian older than Miocene in age is uncommon. Exceptionally old obsidians come with a Cretaceous welded tuff and a partially devitrified Ordovician perlite.[20] This transformation of obsidian is speeded up by way of the presence of water. Although newly formed obsidian has a low water content material, normally less than 1% water through weight,[21] it becomes gradually hydrated when uncovered to groundwater, forming perlite.

Pure obsidian is in most cases darkish in look, regardless that the color varies relying at the impurities present. Iron and different transition elements can provide the obsidian a dark brown to black colour. Most black obsidians contain nanoinclusions of magnetite, an iron oxide.[22] Very few samples of obsidian are just about colorless. In some stones, the inclusion of small, white, radially clustered crystals (spherulites) of the mineral cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake trend (snowflake obsidian). Obsidian would possibly comprise patterns of fuel bubbles remaining from the lava flow, aligned along layers created because the molten rock used to be flowing ahead of being cooled. These bubbles can produce attention-grabbing results such as a golden sheen (sheen obsidian). An iridescent, rainbow-like sheen (hearth obsidian) is brought about by inclusions of magnetite nanoparticles creating thin-film interference.[23] Colorful, striped obsidian (rainbow obsidian) from Mexico incorporates oriented nanorods of hedenbergite, which reason the rainbow striping effects via thin-film interference.[22]


Glass Mountain, a big obsidian go with the flow at Medicine Lake Volcano in California

Obsidian is located in places which have passed through rhyolitic eruptions. It may also be present in Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia,[24]Canada, Chile, Georgia, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Scotland, The Canary Islands, Turkey and the United States. Obsidian flows which may be hiked on are found throughout the calderas of Newberry Volcano and Medicine Lake Volcano within the Cascade Range of western North America, and at Inyo Craters east of the Sierra Nevada in California. Yellowstone National Park has a mountainside containing obsidian situated between Mammoth Hot Springs and the Norris Geyser Basin, and deposits may also be found in lots of different western U.S. states together with Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Washington,[25]Oregon[26] and Idaho. Obsidian may also be discovered in the jap U.S. states of Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

There are only four main deposit areas within the central Mediterranean: Lipari, Pantelleria, Palmarola and Monte Arci.[27]

Ancient assets within the Aegean were Milos and Gyali.[28]

Acıgöl town and the Göllü Dağ volcano have been an important sources in central Anatolia, one of the extra vital supply spaces within the prehistoric Near East.[29][30][31]

Prehistoric and historic use

Obsidian arrowhead

The first identified archaeological evidence of usage used to be in Kariandusi (Kenya) and different websites of the Acheulian age (starting 1.5 million years BP) dated 700,000 BC, despite the fact that most effective very few items were found at these sites relative to the Neolithic.[32][33][34][35][36] Manufacture of obsidian bladelets at Lipari had reached a prime stage of sophistication through the late Neolithic, and was traded so far as Sicily, the southern Po river valley, and Croatia.[37] Obsidian bladelets had been used in ritual circumcisions and cutting of umbilical cords of newborns.[38] Anatolian sources of obsidian are known to have been the material used within the Levant and modern day Iraqi Kurdistan from a time starting sometime about 12,500 BC.[39] Obsidian artifacts are commonplace at Tell Brak, one of the vital earliest Mesopotamian city centers, courting to the overdue fifth millennium BC.[40] Obsidian used to be valued in Stone Age cultures because, like flint, it may well be fractured to provide sharp blades or arrowheads in a procedure called knapping. Like all glass and a few other naturally happening rocks, obsidian breaks with a function conchoidal fracture. It used to be also polished to create early mirrors. Modern archaeologists have advanced a relative dating machine, obsidian hydration courting, to calculate the age of obsidian artifacts.


Obsidian artifacts first seemed in the European continent in Central Europe within the Middle Paleolithic and had turn out to be commonplace through the Upper Paleolithic, despite the fact that there are exceptions to this. Obsidian played an important role within the transmission of Neolithic wisdom and studies. The material was basically used for manufacturing of chipped gear which were very sharp because of its nature. Artifacts fabricated from obsidian will also be found in many Neolithic cultures across Europe. The source of obsidian for cultures inhabiting the territory of and around Greece was the island of Melos; the Starčevo–Körös–Criş tradition received obsidian from assets in Hungary and Slovakia, while the Cardium-Impresso cultural complex bought obsidian from the island outcrops of the central Mediterranean. Through industry, these artifacts ended up in lands hundreds of kilometres away from the unique source; this indicates that they had been a extremely valued commodity.[41]John Dee had a reflect, made from obsidian, which used to be brought from Mexico to Europe between 1527 and 1530 after Hernando Cortés's conquest of the area.[42]

Middle East Obsidian equipment from Tilkitepe, Turkey, fifth millennium BC. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

In the Ubaid in the fifth millennium BC, blades were product of obsidian extracted from outcrops positioned in modern-day Turkey.[43]Ancient Egyptians used obsidian imported from the eastern Mediterranean and southern Red Sea areas. In the japanese Mediterranean house the material was once used to make equipment, mirrors and decorative gadgets.[44]

Obsidian has additionally been present in Gilat, a web site within the western Negev in Israel. Eight obsidian artifacts courting to the Chalcolithic Age found at this site were traced to obsidian assets in Anatolia. Neutron activation analysis (NAA) on the obsidian found at this web page helped to show trade routes and trade networks in the past unknown.[45]

Americas See also: Obsidian use in Mesoamerica Obsidian worked into plates and different wares by means of Victor Lopez Pelcastre of Nopalillo, Epazoyucan, Hidalgo. On display on the Museo de Arte Popular, Mexico City.

Lithic analysis is helping to know prehispanic teams in Mesoamerica. A cautious analysis of obsidian in a culture or place may also be of considerable use to reconstruct commerce, manufacturing, and distribution, and thereby understand financial, social and political facets of a civilization. This is the case in Yaxchilán, a Maya town where even conflict implications had been studied linked with obsidian use and its particles.[46] Another example is the archeological restoration at coastal Chumash websites in California, indicating substantial trade with the far away website of Casa Diablo, California within the Sierra Nevada Mountains.[47]

Raw obsidian and obsidian blades from the Mayan website online of Takalik Abaj

Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans' use of obsidian was intensive and complex; including carved and worked obsidian for equipment and decorative gadgets. Mesoamericans also made one of those sword with obsidian blades fastened in a picket body. Called a macuahuitl, the weapon may inflict horrible accidents, combining the sharp slicing edge of an obsidian blade with the ragged cut of a serrated weapon. The pole arm version of this weapon was called tepoztopilli.

Obsidian mirrors had been utilized by some Aztec monks to conjure visions and make prophesies. They had been connected with Tezcatlipoca, god of obsidian and sorcery, whose name will also be translated from the Nahuatl language as 'Smoking Mirror’.[42]

Obsidian imported from Milos, present in Minoan Crete.

Native American other folks traded obsidian all over the Americas. Each volcano and in some circumstances each volcanic eruption produces a distinguishable type of obsidian, allowing archaeologists to trace the origins of a particular artifact. Similar tracing techniques have additionally allowed obsidian in Greece to be identified as coming from Milos, Nisyros or Gyali, islands in the Aegean Sea. Obsidian cores and blades were traded nice distances inland from the coast.[48]

In Chile obsidian tools from Chaitén Volcano have been discovered as a ways away as in Chan-Chan 400 km (250 mi) north of the volcano, and in addition in websites 400 km south of it.[49][50]


The Lapita culture, energetic throughout a big space of the Pacific Ocean around 1000 BC, made in style use of obsidian gear and engaged in lengthy distance obsidian trading. The complexity of the manufacturing methodology for these gear, and the care taken in their garage, may indicate that past their sensible use they have been associated with prestige or prime status.[51]

Obsidian used to be also used on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) for edged tools corresponding to Mataia and the pupils of the eyes of their Moai (statues), which have been encircled by means of rings of hen bone.[52] Obsidian used to be used to inscribe the Rongorongo glyphs.

Current use

Obsidian can be used to make extraordinarily sharp knives, and obsidian blades are a kind of glass knife made the use of naturally going on obsidian as a substitute of manufactured glass. Obsidian is utilized by some surgeons for scalpel blades, even if this is not authorized by way of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on humans. Well-crafted obsidian blades, like all glass knife, will have a cutting edge repeatedly sharper than fine quality steel surgical scalpels: the cutting fringe of the blade is only about Three nanometers thick.[53] All steel knives have a jagged, irregular blade when seen underneath a strong enough microscope; alternatively, obsidian blades are nonetheless clean and even if tested under an electron microscope.[54] One find out about found that obsidian incisions produced fewer inflammatory cells and less granulation tissue in a gaggle of rats after seven days however the variations disappeared after twenty-one days.[55]Don Crabtree has produced surgical obsidian blades and written articles at the matter.[53] Obsidian scalpels might currently be bought for surgical use on research animals.[56]

Pig carved in snowflake obsidian, 10 centimeters (Four in) long. The markings are spherulites.

Obsidian is also used for decorative functions and as a gemstone.[57] It presents a special appearance depending on how it is reduce: in one course it's jet black, while in any other it's glistening grey. "Apache tears" are small rounded obsidian nuggets often embedded inside of a grayish-white perlite matrix.

Plinths for audio turntables had been made from obsidian because the Seventies, such because the grayish-black SH-10B3 plinth by way of Technics.

See also

Apache tears Helenite Hyaloclastite – A volcaniclastic accumulation or breccia and tachylite – volcanic glasses with basaltic composition Knapping Libyan desolate tract glass – Desert glass present in Libya and Egypt Mayor Island / Tuhua – New Zealand defend volcano - a supply of Māori obsidian tools Obsidian hydration courting Stone tools Yaxchilan Lintel 24 – Ancient Maya limestone carving from Yaxchilan in fashionable Chiapas, Mexico – Ancient carving appearing a Maya bloodlet ritual involving a rope with obsidian shards.


^ In Bostock's unique translation, the identify is given as Obsius, in accordance with an emendation via Sillig of the older reading Obaidius in Pliny. There was once a minor Roman circle of relatives with the nomen Opsius or Obsius, which Sillig substituted for the unfamiliar Obsidius, a miles much less not unusual title.


^ .mw-parser-output cite.citationfont-style:inherit.mw-parser-output .quotation qquotes:"\"""\"""'""'".mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free abackground:linear-gradient(clear,clear),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg")correct 0.1em heart/9px no-repeat.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .quotation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration abackground:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg")right 0.1em heart/9px no-repeat.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription abackground:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg")appropriate 0.1em heart/9px no-repeat.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registrationcolour:#555.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration spanborder-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:assist.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon abackground:linear-gradient(transparent,clear),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg")appropriate 0.1em middle/12px no-repeat.mw-parser-output code.cs1-codecolour:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-errorshow:none;font-size:100%.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-errorfont-size:100%.mw-parser-output .cs1-maintdisplay:none;colour:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em.mw-parser-output .cs1-formatfont-size:95%.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-leftpadding-left:0.2em.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-rightpadding-right:0.2em.mw-parser-output .quotation .mw-selflinkfont-weight:inheritPeter Roger Stuart Moorey (1999). 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ISBN 9780495810841. Retrieved 27 September 2012. ^ Disa, J. J.; Vossoughi, J.; Goldberg, N. H. (October 1993). "A comparison of obsidian and surgical steel scalpel wound healing in rats". Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 92 (5): 884–887. doi:10.1097/00006534-199392050-00015. PMID 8415970. ^ Fine Science Tools (FST). "FST product catalog". FST. Retrieved 7 September 2012. ^ Manutchehr-Danai, Mohsen (2013-03-09). Dictionary of Gems and Gemology. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9783662042885.

External links

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