Why is it Named Zeolite?

The name was originally given to the mineral by a Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt who in 1756 observed that rocks of zeolite produced large amounts of steam when heated and appeared to dance around as the water in them evaporated. The name comes from his interpretation of what was happening. He used the Greek words ‘ζέω’ ‘zeo’ (to boil or boiling) and ‘λίθος’ ‘lithos’ (stone).

However scientifically, they are now described as hydrated ‘alumino-silicates’. This is because the ash that fell into the shallow, alkaline lakes absorbed all the silicates giving the ash its current physical structure.


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