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An Introduction to Minerals

Minerals are geologically formed materials whose chemistry has been altered through the effects of exposure to air, water, fire and earth. They have unique and specific characteristics with a well-ordered atomic configuration. Like other things, their physical features are distinct; they work differently in combination with other minerals and atomic elements. More than four thousand minerals have been identified to date and more are expected to be found. Our product contains a few of them.

Here is a simplified description as to how minerals came to be part of the Earth's soil; a shortened journey from volcano to glacier, from glacier to dinosaurs then dinosaurs to us - and from minerals in soil to minerals in our food.

Science - Volcanic Minerals to Glacier

Here is a simplified explanation as to how minerals came to be part of the Earth's soil in the first place - a shortened journey from volcano to glacier, from dinosaurs to us and eventually to our food.

A volcano is a pressurized vent. When there is enough pressure, an eruption occurs. Gas and pyroclastic materials are thrown into the Earth's atmosphere, carried on the prevailing winds and in the jet stream. Some of the materials carried on the wind are minerals. An example of this is when Mt. Pinatubo erupted and fallout from the volcanoes' blast remained airborne for some years after the volcanic event. Ten years after the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's, abundant regrowth can be seen for miles around the volcano, where the heaviest fallout of mineral-rich ash has contributed to the natural healing process that followed on the heels of natural devastation.

If there is a major cataclysmic event, where many volcanoes around the world erupt all at once, these eruptions can put Earth into a condition called a ‘solar winter'. There will be a drop in temperature around the planet and those landmasses closest to the poles become covered in ice. The highest mountains in even the warmest areas of the planet may be covered by a glacier.

Today, the remains of glaciers from the last Ice Age are found at the tops of either extinct or dormant volcanoes; at the highest, colder elevations where snow naturally falls first are the origins of many glaciers that were volcanoes previously-not all but some. If we were to look at a map that identified all the volcanoes in the world - along with the outlines of continental plates - you would see that volcanoes even in the ocean form at elevation, for they are responsible for creating the mountains that have been created from within. Although volcanoes in the oceans aren't affected by snow, they are cooled by the presence and pressure of the waters around them, continuing to grow from within as do volcanoes on dry land.

On land, snow falls and freezes into ice layers, the Ice begins to move outward. Sheets of ice extend from the mountains to the valleys, carrying beneath it much of the ash, cooled and crushed lava which solidified after the volcanic eruption has cooled. Layer upon layer of sheet ice are compressed together under new snowfall. The heavier the ice mass becomes the wider it spreads, the ices' weight causing it to expand. New snow fall in a frozen landscape forces an ice cap on a volcano to expand horizontally from pressure from above. As it expands it takes the path of least resistance and will flow into low lying valleys between mountains or along river beds. Existing rock and soil is pushed forward and to either side of the glacier's path. The low ridges that form at the base of the mountains on either side of these glacial valleys are called moraines and contribute much to what we refer to as the ‘foothills' of a mountain range.

The ice carries this material across the landscape, grinding and crushing it as the ice sheet travels. When the thaw finally begins, the ice retreats along the same course it initially took. It leaves behind deposits of mineral rich volcanic particles in its wake, accelerated by more natural erosion - from wind and rain - breaking it down even further. It becomes part of the new topsoil that has formed after these events.

The moving ice carries large pieces of volcanic debris down the face of the volcano and as far as the glacier eventually travels. Millennia may pass before there is a glacial melt. As the glacier retreats it grinds up the volcanic debris leaving a mineral rich residue of volcanic basalt behind. Glacial melt will form new or re-charge existing aquifers - chambers beneath Earth's surface - where fresh water is stored when it isn't in the hydrologic cycle as rain. It's from the aquifer that springs emerge, where pressure from water or ice escapes, pushing water to the surface.

More volcanic basalt will have already been deposited from both pyroclastic fallout and lava flow during and following a volcanic eruption. As ice came into contact with this material during the last Ice Age, it too was reduced to fine particles called loess and finer particles called glacial flour. With this dust transferred deep into the mud by peculation, the Earth was left with mineral-rich topsoil. Continued geological changes locked away many other mineral deposits into sedimentary rock over eons.

an opening in the Earth's crust created from internal pressure, from where gases, ash and magma (lava) discharge across our planet's surface or explode into the atmosphere
Jet Stream
air currents located in a narrow band between the troposphere and stratosphere, generally moving from west to east. They are created from Earth's rotation and changes in atmospheric temperatures and can change directions, split and collide with one another
molten or liquefied rock produced from high temperatures from magma pushing toward the surface of the Earth during a volcanic eruption. When cooled this material becomes igneous rock
a large body of ice that does not melt due to a continuous build-up of snow that exceeds the rate at which the ice can melt.
glacial deposits of earth and rock left in the wake of a glacier's movement or after its melt. Such material can be picked up and carried away by the glacier as it moves. This debris can accumulate from landslides, from material pulled away in the progress or retreat of the glacier or from frost wedging.
Frost Wedging
the present of ice in cracks in rock or soil. The ice expands, causing fractures in stone or heaving up of soil. Shattering can occur across an entire rock face, in the smallest stones.
Glacial FlourRockFlourPeytoLake
dust sized particles created as a glacier grinds across the surface of bedrock, reducing the size of the rocks from both the movement and pressure.
is porous sediment formed from an accumulation of airborne particles (such as glacial flour) predominantly of sand and silt, rich in mineral composition. When this material comes to rest, it accumulates and is locked into layers through the action of water and pressure.

More volcanic basalt will have already been deposited from both pyroclastic fallout and lava flow during and following a volcanic eruption. Large chunks of sedimentary rock could have been blasted outward and carried miles away, as well as newly formed bolder size pieces of cinder. As ice came into contact with this material during the last Ice Age, it too was reduced to fine particles. With this dust transferred deep into the mud by peculation, the Earth was left with mineral-rich topsoil.

Dinosaurs to Us

The single species that may have had the greatest benefit from minerals created through vulcanization and glaciation was an herbaceous forager who was previously thought to have eaten from the tops of trees. Once we called it a Brontosaurus - the longest animal to ever walk the Earth - but as more research has surfaced, much more about this type of dinosaur has caused it to be renamed Apatosaurus.

In geologic time, this quadruped lived between the Kimmeridgian and the early Tithonian era - more than one-hundred and fifty million years ago by human reckoning - a time that most people now refer to as the Jurassic Period. It was one of the two most common herbivores that lived as various subspecies for a period of three million years.

The Apatosaurus (no longer accepted as the Brontosaurus in a scientific reference) was an adaptive vegetarian survivor. Apatosaurus in Greek means the ‘deceptive lizard' but not because it was sneaky or overly cunning. This label refers to its skeletal structure, indicating that the Apatosaurus may actually be related to earlier marine animals called mosasaurs, rather than to terrestrial herbaceous dinosaur species that are most often referred to as 'lizards'.

The Apatosaurus has also been called the thunder lizard - a completely non-scientific reference - because of the assumed percussive sound it would have made while walking, due to its great size. Palaeontologists have created a computer generated image of the tail structures of this early giant and have implied that it could also have made a sound similar to that of a cracking whip with its tail, creating sound in the range of 200 decibels not unlike that created by a cannon blast.

The Apatosaurus could grow to twenty-three meters or seventy-five feet in length. Its long neck was of similar in length to its tail, with a paired spinal column. Its neck was much wider and thicker than its tail; a unique, structure which contained a system of air sacs that made it possible to deal with its neck’s heavy weight. There was a considerable disproportion between its long, thick neck in comparison to its small head – which can be compared to the size of a horse’s head today. The tail narrowed drastically as the size and shape of the vertebrae changed rapidly past its hips. The front legs were shorter than those in the rear.

One benefit that the Jurassic Period had to ours – at least in dealing with issues of size and weight – was a reduced gravitational field. This allowed for much easier mobility for such huge animals where they would not reach this size or move around with such success in our atmosphere today or with the depletion of minerals in the soil.



There are four distinct species of Apatosaurus whose skeletal remains have been found: Apatosaurus ajax, Apatosaurus excelsus, Apatosaurus louisae and Apatosaurus parvus, Their discoveries occurred between 1877 and 1902. It was the 1877 discovery of A. ajax by Othniel Charles Marsh to which the synonym Brontosaurus attached itself. For a time, the title Elosaurus was associated with the discovery in 1902 by Peterson and Gilmore of the A.parvus.

Based on the numerous discoveries of remains of Apatosaurus in Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming in the United States, it has been determined that its weight may have varies between the sub-species classification for the Apatosaurus (one genus of sauropod), from eighteen-thousand kilos (forty thousand pounds) to thirty-five thousand kilos (seventy-seven thousand pounds or approximately twenty-five tons). Nutritionists interested in the effects of nutrition in bone density, have determined that an animal of such dimensions would have to ingest food that contained thirty time the amount of minerals than what green vegetation contains today. This study of skeletal remains sheds some light on the benefit of minerals to our own bone structure.

It was thought that the long necks of the Apatosaurus was designed for arboreal eating but researchers have come to realise it would have been impossible for them to physically sustain a vertical position without a loss of blood flow to the brain; their necks were not as flexible as had been thought. It was determined that like other tetrapods, Apatosaurus would raise their necks into a vertical position when alert and would have held their necks in an ascended position with head dipped down when at rest.

It's been questioned as to whether or not the Apatosaurus had been ‘semi-aquatic', with its vast weight making mobility difficult on land. Calculating the amount of air taken in or expelled in a single breath (called a 'tidal volume') it was learned that an Apatosaurus wasn't a reptiles, for the amount of air needed to be moved could not be done without the aid of a diaphragm (something reptiles don't possess). Not even a mammalian lung structure would not work in this case, as it would exceed the air flow requirement needed by this animal. It was finally concluded that the Apatosaurus had an avian respiratory system that support its size and activity but at rest, its metabolism was reptilian.

It was also decided that this species was fully terrestrial when, between 2006 and 2008 more findings of Apatosaurus were made - this time, of juveniles. It was determined that young Apatosaurus were capable on running on their hind legs. A close study of their bones showed rapid growth when young, reaching their full adult size by ten years of age. They are now classified as browsers, feeding at ground level from many different plants rather than treetop grazers as was previously thought.

Generally speaking humans are browsers, too. We eat from a diverse selection of foods and, through nutritional studies, now know diversity in the foods we eat gives us a better balanced and nutritionally rich diet that dinosaur's may have known instinctually. We don't know whether the social structure of these former giants influenced their eating behaviour, but we do know that socialization has influenced our own patterns of eating.

The how and what we eat has had a huge impact on our environment - just as the eating habits of the Apatosaurus would have done on theirs. The main difference is we eat across many levels of the food web, and holding four of the five positions in the food web where they only ate from one. High rich mineralized soils would have promoted rapid re-growth in the time of the Jurassic period as compared to what can be farmed and harvested for consumption by us today.

Plants, Animals, People and Food

A food web is specific to a biome or precise plant community; it's the total of all plants and animals within that exact biological community and their relationship to one another. Most species fit into one of the Tropic Levels that make up the Food Chain. A food chain is the distribution of energy within the food web; the producers and the consumers found within a tropic level. The tropic levels are outlined below.

Level 1:
Plants and algae that make their own food and are called primary producers.
Level 2:
Herbivores eat plants and are called primary consumers.THIS IS US
Level 3:
Carnivores which eat herbivores are called secondary consumers.THIS IS US
Level 4:
Carnivores which eat other carnivores are called tertiary consumers.THIS IS US
Level 5:
Apex predators have no predators are at the top of the food chain.THIS IS US

Whether we consider ourselves vegetarians or vegans, omnivores (who eat both plants and animals) or carnivores, we consume more and produce nothing as compared to other species - be they plant or animal. Many meat eaters would argue that as carnivores we don't eat other carnivores, but most of the fish we eat - including shellfish - are carnivorous.

Science and Memory

Plants and algae are the only primary producers in either the food web or food chain. Five things are needed for a plant (including algae) to produce their own food and their components are as follows:

which they make internally
from the Sun
Carbon dioxide
from the Air
which they take from the soil
Nutrients and minerals
which they take from the soil

Elements, Technology and Sustainability

Air, Fire, Water and Earth,  make it possible for chlorophyll in plants to create some food for themselves, produced from their relationship to and with the effects of these four components. 

Historically these contributing substances have been referred to as the primal elements. Fire was  associated with the Sun and the magma within the Earth.  Air - C02 or carbon dioxide from which 02 - oxygen - is extracted, Water  in all its forms (rain, snow or ice, oceans, rivers and streams) and Earth (where organic and inorganic materials are formed) and from where things emerge or were born - be they entire cultures or plants.

Medieval 4 elements chart

These four forms of energy have been and continue be represented in art and are associated with the cardinal points of East, South West and North in many societies. They are considered fundamentally important to both physical and even spiritual well-being. They are the birth elements seen as vital to existence in numerous cultural zodiac charts, often used to reference the temperamental characteristics attributed to man. What comes out of our food - that which nurtures us physically, is the basis of the very word nutrition.


Joachim Beuckelaer’s series of painting in oils created in the fifteen-sixties was called The Four Elements, expressed with an abundance of consumable goods, provided by Nature for us to use - but not to the extent to which he expressed hoe much we consumed. The element Fire was symbolized in a kitchen scene, Air, within a poultry market, Water, as women shopped at the fishmonger's, and Earth with a bounty of gathered vegetables and fruits. Cole Thomas’ Catskill Mountain House - The Four Elements, was a wild landscape, of sunshine, rain and a forest fire contained in a single landscape, painted between eighteen forty-three and eighteen forty-four. In an English medieval manuscript, the four primal forces can be seen combined with the Zodiac, one which was in common use at the time.

In fourteenth century materia medica -a compendium of remedial substances needed for medical practice included the study of the source and characteristics of these substances - a biological comparison to metallurgy in alchemy. It determined benefits of an organism by exploring the different temperatures and energy signatures in all living things - specifying that certain plants should be harvested by men, while others by women, some by children or even a combination of three, based on certain features contained in each species. The purpose behind such specific treatment of plants used in medicine was to retain the best qualities within the plants needed for healing. This energy influence was part of farming practices in general - what plants to were to be grown close to another, when to plant and when to harvest - viewed as important to the overall benefit of plants when eaten, as well as when they were used to cure or alter the course of a dis-ease.

The equal armed cross had significance in alchemy as it did in the metaphysical teaching of the Celts, where the four elements were represented by colours associated with the directions and and different natural energies. This design implied balance, integration between the elements and sustainability throughout.

Cultures around the world have found ways to remind us of the crucial importance that the primordial elements and plants have on the quality of all life. Sustainable traditions were once passed down through stories of interconnectedness between the species which are no longer part of Western culture. The folk-lore (lore meaning that which is learned from the Earth) we do recall are not these particular tales. We have very short memories, yet humans have known of the importance of this relationship between fundamental sources of energy within our food and in Nature for millennia.

Collectively, we feed off each tropic level (as shown above) and have yet to produce any consumable product to nourish ourselves or any other species without the aid of plants or animals from one or more of the other tropic levels. Like all plants and animals, we rely on the same substances to live, grow and maintain our health. We don't reside ina specific biome as do most animals but live in all of them, consuming from all of them and depleting resources that are needed by the producers that feed us, while they are still expected to sustain everything else.

At Mother Earth's Minerals, we've thought long and hard as to what it was we can do that would help more people, other species and the Earth in the shortest amount of time. We want to do this in a way that doesn't contribute to the decline of something or someone else. Though we too continue to consume, we know we can and should contribute to some balance within the food web. By putting back organically sourced minerals where they have been used up or washed away through erosion, we feel that we can help.

This volcanic basalt was found deep within the Earth, buried for thousands or even millions of years. We don't want to contribute more to our own carbon footprint,so we have chosen to recycle volcanic basalt that has already been excavated. See more about this under the topic ABOUT US.