Novaculite Facts

Novaculite Facts
Novaculite is a form of flint or chert found in the mountains of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Novaculite is extremely resistant to erosion and withstood flooding which made it stand out as ridges in the mountains. Novaculite is a form of cryptocrystalline quartz or microcrystalline. The color variations differ from white to greyish-black. This is an extremely hard and dense rock that is used as a whetstone. Because they are predominantly found in Arkansas, they are referred to as Arkansas stones. Since the prehistoric times, Novaculite has been mined and used as spear points, arrows and as sharpening stones. The word Novaculite is derived from the original word novacula which means razor stone.
Interesting Novaculite Facts:
Novaculite has been used for making cutting weapons and tools for thousands of years. Today they are still used as a tool to sharpen metal cutting tools and weapons.
Because Novaculite is a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz, it is very dense, fine-grained and has an extremely uniformed texture.
As a variety of quartz, it has a hardness of 7 which is harder than that of steel.
European settlers and Native Americans valued this rock for the many uses it provided.
Native Americans were the first people to mine for novaculite in the Arkansas Novaculite Formation.
Native Americans not only used novaculite for cutting tools, but they also traded the materials to surrounding areas.
Of the Native American tribes, the Natchez, Chickasaw, Tunica, Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw were the first to mine the novaculite.
Arkansas novaculite is used especially for sharpening stones and comes in three different textures. The white stone has a course texture for initial sharpening, the mottled stone is used for resharpening, and the black stone has a very fine texture for honing an unsharpened edge.
These stones are used with a drop of oil which will lubricate the strokes across the stone. This prevents the metal shavings from clogging the pores of the stone.
Each sharpening stones is made to be about 2 inches wide and about six inches in length and about 1/2 inch in thickness.
The most famous location where novaculite is found in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The rock units found there range from 60 feet thick to about 900 feet thick.
Compared to other kinds of rocks, novaculite is extraordinarily resistant to both weathering and chemical changes.
Since there are relatively no changes to novaculite over time, they form ridges and cliffs in the Ouachita Mountains and become very pronounced landscape features.
Novaculite is many times a highly fractured rock that can be used as a suitable aquifer for private water wells and water supplies.
Once European settlers discovered that novaculite could be used to sharpen metal, they began producing sharpening tools and trading those to all distant partners expanding the use of novaculite to an even broader area.
As sharpening stones became famous, the demand for novaculite in the 1800's was strong. However, in the early 1900's demand began to decline as artificial abrasives and sharpening machines began to be produced.


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