| Share
 

flint

flint, variety of quartz that commonly occurs in rounded nodules and whose crystal structure is not visible to the naked eye. Flint is dark gray, smoky brown, or black in color; pale gray flint is called chert. When found in chalk or in other rocks containing lime, the nodules frequently have a white coating. Flint is translucent to opaque. It was early used by primitive peoples for making knives and spearheads because, although it is very hard, it is more readily shaped than stone; edges can be flaked off with comparative ease, especially those of freshly dug pieces, by pressure exerted with a piece of stone or bone. Since it is not chipped by pounding, as stone is, sharper edges are obtained. Use of flint tools defines the Stone Age cultures of the Pleistocene epoch. It was long used with steel for lighting fires and later for setting off the powder in flintlock firearms.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Geology and Oceanography


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring