In an attempt to reach out to non-geologists, I'll damage my credibility in the scientific community and offer the analogy that...

Granites are like
Ice Cream

even though some of the existing intersections of science and ice cream on the WWW are bizarre or geekoid.

How??

Both ice cream and granite start out as liquids which when cooled became solid, and both will melt again if the temperature gets hot enough.
However, ice cream freezes at temperatures below 0°C, while granite freezes at temperatures below ~650°C.
It is also true that as both granite and ice cream increase in temperature to near their respective melting points, they get softer, as those of you who like to microwave your ice cream can tell.

Both ice cream and granite become crystalline when they become solid.
Different kinds of crystals in each, but crystals nonetheless. The crystals in ice cream are typically too small to see, but they are there.

Both granites and ice cream come in lots of "flavors" and colors, but they both have a few basic ingredients.
For ice cream the basic ingredients are milk, cream, and sugar.
For granite the basic ingredients are plagioclase feldspar, potassium feldspar, and quartz.

In both ice cream and granite, if you don't have some of the basic ingredients, it's not the real thing.

As with ice cream, there are things out there that may look a lot like granite, they may even have a lot of the same ingredients, people may even tell you that they are the same, and they may even "taste" a lot alike, but they aren't granite. Granite is to gabbro as ice cream is to frozen tofu. Ice milk is granodiorite, sherbet is syenite, and frozen yogurt is anorthosite?
(Actually if I'm going to make statements like this, I'll have to check and see how Canadians feel about frozen yogurt and how vegans feel about gabbro.)

For both ice cream and granite you can have all the basic ingredients together, but not mixed properly, and you end up with something that's only a cold dairy treat (like a milkshake or a quiescently frozen dairy confection) or just a plain old rock (like a sandstone).

The Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla of the granite world are peraluminous (lots of aluminum), peralkaline (lots of sodium and potassium), and metaluminous (in between). However, unlike with ice cream, all granites are going to fit in one of those chemical categories.

For both granite and ice cream, appearances can be deceiving.
Vanilla may not look a lot like triple fudge swirl, cherry chunk, or mocha almond, but they have a lot of the same ingredients and were made in much the same way.

Well, this granite

may not look much like

 

this granite

but they have a lot of the same ingredients and were made in much the same way.

Like in ice cream, a lot of the fun in granite comes from the things that get folded and mixed in or dumped on top, and the ways that it gets served up.

The chocolate chips and nuts of the granite world are minerals like biotite and hornblende. The chocolate swirls are schlieren (layers of dark black minerals that occur in the granite).

The M&M's, Heath Bars, and Oreo cookies of the granite world are called xenoliths (rocks originally from outside the granite) and enclaves (dark bits in the granite that aren't really granite but are igneous rocks).

The mint and pistachio in ice cream are like chemical elements such as fluorine, boron, and titanium in granite. A little bit that really influences the final "flavor".

Both Granite and Ice Cream can come in many different shapes...
Ice cream can be served up as cones, or cups, or sundaes, or bars, or on a stick, etc.
Granite can be served (emplaced) as batholiths (large rounded masses) or laccoliths (dome-topped sheets) or lopoliths (cone-bottomed sheets) or sills (horizontal flat sheets), or dikes (non-horizontal flat sheets), and on and on for about 20 different types of granitic bodies.
Also like ice cream, the different granite shapes don't necessarily say anything about the compositions.
In much the same way that ice cream can be served up in sugar or waffle or whatever kind of cones, granite can be served up in (surrounded by) "cones" of igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rock.

In ice cream there are a bunch of things you can't see; like emulsifiers, carrageenan and Carob Bean Gum, but which seriously effect how the ice cream behaves. In granite there are minerals; like zircons, apatites, and titanites, which you commonly can't see, but have a big influence on how the granite behaves (at least how the chemistry of the granite "behaves").

Some of the best known ice cream (Ben and Jerry's) and some of the best known granite (Barre Gray) come from Vermont...
but for both ice cream and granite, the stuff from Texas (Amy's or Bluebell: Llano or Red Bluff) is really better. ;-)



So do you like the "Geology meets Food" stuff? Strangely enough, the BBC does too, both sandwiches and dessert.


For those who are willing to risk getting burned, test drive my newest analogy.