In plain English, granite is a widely occurring crystalline rock formed many millions of years ago when hot molten rock cooled slowly deep within the earth's crust. The minerals within the molten rock and the surrounding rocks within which the granite formed are central to the eventual colour, texture and pattern of the granite. Over time, through movement within the earth's crust and erosion of the original surface material, the granite has appeared at or near the earth's surface. Granite is a very hard, rigid and dense material.
Granite deposits occur in many places throughout the world but the majority of today’s commercial granite quarries are in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, India, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Granite is cut from the ground in large blocks. For worktop granite these blocks are then sliced into slabs, usually 30mm thick. The slabs are then polished on one side, from here they are ready to be cut and finished to suit the worktop requirements.
Granite is a very popular material that has been used in many ways for thousands of years. The Egyptians used granite as a finishing material in some of the pyramids and the famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the USA was carved into a granite mountain.
Today polished granite is used internally as a flooring material as well as for worktops. Granite is a quality material that evokes sophistication and prestige. From a practical perspective, granite is a hard wearing easy to clean material. It is heat, scratch and knock resistant and, although naturally porous to a certain extent, once treated properly it is stain and mould resistant.
For a more scientific and geological description of granite the Wikipedia page ‘Granite’ is a good starting point.