Pitchstone is a dull black glassy volcanic rock formed when a felsic viscous lava or magma cools quickly. It is similar to obsidian but is defined by the International Union of Geological Sciences as having a higher water content. It is a volcanic glass; however, unlike a glass, pitchstone has an irregular hackly fracture not a conchoidal fracture. That is due to its coarser (than obsidian) crystal structure. Pitchstone has a resinous lustre, or silky in some cases, and a variable composition. Its colour may be mottled, streaked, or uniform brown, red, green, gray, or black. It is an extrusive rock that is very resistant to erosion.
Pitchstone from the Isle of Arran was used as the raw material for making various items from the Mesolithic through the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Mesolithic use appears to have been limited to the Isle of Arran itself, while in later periods the material or items made from it were transported around Britain.
- Ballin, Torben Bjarke (2015). "Arran pitchstone (Scottish volcanic glass): New dating evidence". Journal of Lithic Studies. University of Edinburgh. 2 (1): 5–16. doi:10.2218/jls.v2i1.1166.
- al.], C.H. Emeleus ; contributors: J.D. Hudson ... [et (1997). Geology of Rum and the adjacent islands : memoir for 1:50000 geological sheet 60 (Scotland) (1. publ. ed.). London: Stationery Office. ISBN 0118845179.
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