What is basalt used for?


Quick Answer

Basalt is crushed and used to pave roads. It is also used to provide ballast for railroads and as a building stone. It is used in sculpture and to make basalt fiber and rock wool. Basalt can also be cut into flags and polished and used as flooring material.

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Full Answer

To make basalt fiber, the stone is first crushed and then melted at around 2,550 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, it is poured into a machine and extruded into threads between 9 and 13 microns in diameter, which makes them thinner than human hair but not so thin they can be inhaled like asbestos. Basalt fiber is used in sports equipment to provide protection from heat and fire and in the manufacturing of speaker cones, car chassis, lamp posts and windmill blades.

Examples of buildings that were made at least in part from basalt are the Moorabool railway station in Australia, the Maimonides Heritage Center in Israel and the Morrow County Courthouse in Oregon. Examples of artwork made of basalt include sculptures by Leland Miyano that stand at the entrance of the Judiciary Building in Oahu, Hawaii. Statues made of basalt were popular in Mexico's Olmec society. One of the most popular is called The Wrestler.

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