Object of the Month - Charnockite

 Angela George, a former Artificial Intelligence in Machine Learning student at the University of Birmingham, shares her chosen Object of the Month, Charnockite. Angela share her personal link to Charnockite, which reminds her of growing up in Southern India.


I'm Angela George. I studied artificial intelligence in machine learning at the University of Birmingham. While here, I used to work part-time at the museum, and as you can see, the museum offers a lot of beautiful rocks to look at. And I have selected the most unassuming one as the object of the month. This is called charnockite and it is a metamorphic rock formed due to high pressure and heat, unlike volcanic rocks, which come from eruptions. This is very common in India. And this specific specimen is from Tamil Nadu in India, which is very close to where I'm from, and you can find it in almost all the households. We use it to build the house. It's used in kitchen utensils. We make mortar and pestles out of it. And these rocks remind me of the stories I've heard about my great-grandfather.

He was a farmer and he has built his house on top of a hill, and he used to cultivate around that hill. So where we are from, we get a lot of heavy rainfalls. And when it rains, we get landslides and they're like volcanos, but except for lava. You have water coming out of it, and it washes down these big boulders of charnockite that's present everywhere. And so the story goes that, you know, before my grandfather came and settled down on top of his, off top of the hill two big boulders of charnockite had rolled down off top of the hill two big boulders of charnockite had rolled down and halfway through the hill, like it got stuck and, and formed like a little cave in between. And when my grandfather started cultivating, he would work from sun up to sun down. And in the afternoons when the sun was harsh, he would get into this little cave and take his afternoon nap there. These rocks are found everywhere. So to get to the top of the hill, he had built like about a hundred stairs. Like he would break these rocks down, boulders down to little rocks, and he built like a hundred stairs all by himself, and it's still there. So, we would climb up those stairs and halfway through when we need a break, we would go to this cave and just, you know, reminisce about the fact that our grandfather used, great-grandfather used to take afternoon naps there. Yeah. And that's why I've selected charnockite as the object of the month.