Talc is a very common mineral but it is also a very curious geological entity due to some of its characteristics:
- It is the softest mineral and is assigned a hardness of 1 on the Mohs Hardness scale. (it is possible to scratch it with a finger nail): in the Mohs scale it is placed on 1. Opposite, at 10, it is placed the diamond;
- When you touch it, it is extremely soft, greasy, soapy feel
- Chemically it presents unique features (inert, resistant to acid or fat, resistant to high-temperature) so that talcum powder is an ingredient in many of our daily products, sometimes unimaginable (chewing gums, car dashboards, cosmetics, prescriptions). Surely it is most known as “borotalco”!
- Talc is usually pink, green, gray, depending on its origin even though the Val Germanasca talc is white and also known as “the White of the Alps”, famous all over the world fot its unique properties.
These are the basic information about talc, this strange mineral – that in Occitan language is called “la peiro douco” (the soft stone) – at the centre of the guided tour ScopriMiniera and ScopriAlpi. Nowadays talc mining and cultivation is still realized by 50 miners in Val Germanasca in the Rodoretto mine, a few minutes from the Ecomuseum.