Granite and Fudge

When I was young, I learned that you made butterscotch candy by not letting it stay too long on the stove and by pouring it out thinly. The best butterscotch was made by taking the pan outdoors and pouring it on a sheet of ice so it hardened at once and looked like light brown glass. When you made fudge and left it too long, it could easily crystallize back into sugar.

Around Halifax, there are lots of rocks and not far away the rocks are granite. Glaciers have carried rocks about and granite boulders are pretty common. Granite went into many building foundations and the graveyards have lots of it in headstones. I was always fascinated by the specks in granite, but I never wondered why they were there. I can remember what a flash of insight it was when I realized that both candy-making and rock-making were the same.

If melted rock comes from a volcano and cools quickly, the result can be black glass, very like the butterscotch of my childhood. If the same rock were allowed to cool very very slowly, it could be granite, complete with three colours of crystals. And this, of course, is what happened outside of Halifax. The granite cooled deep down millions of years ago, all the rock above has been worn away, and there it is. Just like candy, but it takes more time.

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~ by dkcrowdis on February 24, 2008.

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