Hydrothermal Quartz

Hydrothermal veins are a combination of the two ways that crystals form. Magma contains water as well as molten rock. Because it is underground, and under tremendous pressure, the water stays a liquid. At very high temperatures and pressure, that water can dissolve quite a few minerals. As the magma cools, the last part that is still a liquid is the quartz and the high temperature/high pressure water. They flow into cracks in the surrounding rocks, where they cool. The quartz starts to solidify quickly, but the hot water keeps some of it dissolved.


This shot is from my Floating Bubbles video. The balloon is filled with helium. Where does helium come from?


These are ripple marks in beach sand, made by the wind. Similar ripples can be seen in deserts, and even in large playground sandboxes. What causes the ripples to be so evenly spaced?


I took this photo near the entrance to Arches National Park. What geologic structure shaped the rocks of this park?


This is Carlsbad Caverns. What are the main chemicals involved in the formation of all of those beautiful, flowstone structures?