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10 Pretty Rocks That Are Deadly

Our planet produces many riches, and mesmerizing rocks are commonly discovered underground. While many that are mined can produce beautiful gemstones and necessary minerals, some can actually be toxic. You wouldn't think a rock could bite you like a snake, but these can. These surprising crystals and rocks look beautiful from afar but up close they can be deadly. Discover the ten deadliest rocks that have ever been mined.

1. Arsenopyrite

dangerous rocks

This arsenic iron sulfide is often mistaken for fool's gold (iron pyrite) and because of its association with gold, it indicates the presence of gold bearing reefs. With 46% arsenic content, even touching the mineral can bring you into contact with the poison. The lethal gas is also released when heated.

2. Cinnabar

dangerous rocks

Mined for centuries until this day for mercury, this scarlet colored mineral is found near volcanoes and sulfur deposits. Its mercury component makes it a deadly mineral and when heated or disturbed it can cause tremors, loss of sense, and death. In antiquity it was used for decorative purposes because of its rich color.

3. Chrysotile (Asbestos)

dangerous rocks

When the small crystals of Asbestos become airborne and are inhaled, they can destroy human lungs and cause cancer. Asbestos trading has been banned in most countries but because it was used for centuries, it can still be found lining buildings. If you breathe it in, expect lung irritation and scarring.

4. Chalcanthite

dangerous rocks

In Greek, this deadly rock means ‘copper flower’ and is typically found in arid regions. When the crystals break down in water, they kill all animal and plant life by shutting down all vital functions. In the past, they were used to clear ponds of excess plant growth.

5. Coloradoite

dangerous rocks

Named after the place it was first discovered, in Boulder Colorado, this mineral is found in magma veins. This toxic mineral forms when mercury fuses with tellurium and when heated it releases a poisonous dust. This mineral can also be highly dangerous if it’s not handled correctly.

6. Galena

dangerous rocks

Also known as a lead glance, galena is an important source for silver and lead. The ancient Egyptians used to use it as a kohl to reduce the sun’s glare. Although it is safe to handle, the rock is brittle and there is a high risk of lead poisoning if you’re exposed for prolonged periods or ingest or inhale the crystal’s dust.

7. Hutchinsonite

dangerous rocks

Named after a Cambridge mineralogist, this rare mineral is a hybrid of thallium, arsenic and lead. It is found across Europe and those who come into contact with it can suffer severe sickness, hair loss or even death.

8. Orpiment

dangerous rocks

This rock, made of arsenic and sulfur, is found in hydrothermal vents. It's known for its yellow and orange coloring. For many centuries it was ground down and used as paint pigment and in sealing wax. It is still used today in making semiconductors, infrared transmitting glass and fireworks. Simply touching this mineral can releases its neurotoxin.

9. Stibnite

dangerous rocks

Sometimes referred to as antimonite this deadly antimony laced rock acts similarly to arsenic poisoning in humans. Before its fatal effects were detected it was used as an alternative to silver for making utensils.

10. Torbernite

dangerous rocks

Named after Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman, this mineral, made of uranium, is found in granite. It's admired by collectors for its green crystals. However since it’s radioactive, the mineral can release deadly radon gas if heated.

h/t: 9gag
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