Saturday, 10 November 2012

Crystal Chemistry

Littletree has been dabbling in chemistry lately, as well as a little geology, which is the perfect crossover for her loves of science and crystals.

She was given a selenite tower recently, and she loves the crystal; she finds it to have great powers of protection and to be very calming. AquaCat suggested going on an adventure to the creek with a whole lot of crystals to “cleanse” them in the spring water, of course Littletree jumped at the chance.

They had a lovely walk through the rainforest and up the creek, and set the crystals up to cleanse in the flowing water


Littletree was very careful to set them all up carefully and then set about the important scientific work of playing in the river experimenting with physics.


When she came back to check on the crystals, they discovered that the selenite was all rough, and decided that perhaps it was a crystal not meant to be in water.


As soon as she came home, Littletree was most excited, and we went straight to google to find out about selenite and why it went funny in the water.

Littletree learned that it’s actually a crystalline form of gypsum which is the main ingredient in plaster, and alabaster. Reading one page, Littletree read that gypsum is CaSO4·2H2O and she asked me what that means.

So we spent some time learning about the periodic table, elements, the different bonds molecules form, and how they sit in crystalline structures.

She already had a very basic grasp of what elements are, but she was was fascinated with the concept – we talked about how each element has a certain number of electron “arms” – potential bonds where it can connect with other elements. We talked at length about H2O being water and how it’s a molecule made of an Oxygen atom (which has two “arms”) and two Hydrogen atoms (with one arm each).

Littletree spent some time working out the exact structure of calcium sulphite dihidrate, and was most impressed to work out that selenite is 70% water, which is similar to the amount of water in the human body. She even drew up the chemical structure in her notebook.


We had a long discussion about what effect it would have on the human body if one dissolved selenite into the drinking water, and in fact, I’m still listening to her rabbiting on about how selenite is 70% water and 30% calcium sulphite, and it will just dissolve in water.

Then we had to look up the chemical compositions of all the crystals she has, and then many other things. So now a wall poster of the periodic table has been added to her wish list, and she’s moved on to a new favourite joke which she’s telling everyone:

Two scientists walk in to a bar, and the first one says “Bartender, I’ll have a glass of H2O” and the second scientist says “I’ll have a glass of H2O too.” and the second scientist died.



  1. how wonderful! I am impressed. So lovely to read. What it appears hasn't been published yet (I've been trying) is my new selenite-calcium-gypsum water hack - I've designed a prototype that allows one to blend these in such a way that
    one can tell the time depending upon how
    viscous they become when dissolved in solution.
    One simply pours the liquid downward into the force of gravity (towards the ground in laymans terms) and the time it takes the liquid to reach the ground is....the time! Well, a method for measuring time. Which in truth, is all a wristwatch is. Simply a vehicle. My mission for humanity is to evolve greater and greater methods, more efficient & more ergonomic, more practical and more aesthetically pleasing methods. It's time for the wrist watch to step down. It's had it's turn. Humanity needs a new way. A brand new day.


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)