To non-geologists, granite is, of
course, any speckly, hard, usually polished rock of the type used to make tombstones,
table tops, and building fronts.
But technically speaking, granite is a coarse-grained igneous rock that is
made up mostly of potassium feldspar, along with quartz and minor accessory minerals.
Many of the rocks that make the above-mentioned fashioned pieces of stone are not
granite, but other types of rock known as diorite, granodiorite, monzonite, and so on.
We won't go into the details here.
Around Phoenix, the real granite is usually the pinkish, brownish, tan, and
cream colored rock that displays coarse (i.e. easily visible) crystals. Sometimes it
makes very resistant-to-erosion masses, like Camelback Mountain. It also typically
weathers into the surrealistically shaped boulder formations we see in Carefree or the
Pinnacle Peak area.
Granite in the Phoenix area is very old -- Precambrian in age -- ranging from
about 1.7 to 1.4 billion years old!
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