Minerals make your favourite movies and TV shows possible. They are in all the equipment that is used to make shows – lights, cameras, computers and pretty much everything else on set and in the production process.

Minerals, mining and geology also show up in shows other ways. Here are some examples: Games of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Superman, James Bond, Broadchurch, Locke and Key, Sesame Street, and others.

In Game of Thrones, Dragonstone is really Itzurun Beach in Spain. It's known for its flysch: rock formed from layers of ocean silt and sandstone compressed and tilted by tectonic plates colliding, leaving this great layered look.

itzurun beach

Itzurun Beach in Game of Thrones

itzurun beach

Itzurun Beach in real life

Magheramorne Quarry in Northern Ireland is the set for Castle Black and The Wall. The quarry wall is used as a backdrop and special effects make it look huge.

The site was first mined in the 1800s and its limestone was used to make cement until 1980. Nova Scotia has a limestone quarry and cement plant in Brookfield.

Magheramorne Quarry

In Game of Thrones, Renly Baratheon's camp near Storm's End is actually Larrybane quarry in Northern Ireland. It's a chalk quarry that was first mined in the 1800s. Chalk is a type of limestone and it's used in foods, paint, paper, glass, cement and rubber. It also raises pH in soils with high acidity.
larry bane quarry

Larrybane Quarry in Game of Thrones.

larry bane quarry

Larrybane Quarry in real life.

Northern Ireland's Dunluce Castle is where many Pyke Castle scenes were shot for Game of Thrones It was built in the 1500s on a basalt cliff. Basalt is cooled lava and it's the most common rock in earth's crust. It contains a lot of iron - fitting for the Iron Islands.
dunluce castle

Dunluce castle

In Game of Thrones, Valyrian steel makes the best swords: strong, sharp and light. But the secret to making it is lost.

It's based on Damascus steel which had the same traits when Europeans first saw it in the 11th century in the Middle East during the Crusades. The knowledge of how to make Damascus steel was lost in the 1700s.

Steel is mainly iron and carbon, and the carbon is derived from coal.

swords

Swords are based on Damascus steel.

The Dothraki Grasslands in Game of Thrones are really Slemish Mountain in Northern Ireland. It's a 60 million year old volcanic plug (a hill formed by magma that doesn't reach the surface and solidifies in place. In time, the softer rock around it erodes leaving just the column behind as a cylindrical hill.)

Slemish Mountain is said to be Saint Patrick's first Irish home.

Slemish Mountain

Slemish Mountain

Game of Thrones calls it dragonglass but it's really obsidian (volcanic glass). It often forms when lava instantly cools from coming into contact with water. It's been used for thousands of years in jewelry, weapons and tools. It's still used in knives because it's much sharper than steel.

Dragonglass

Dragonglass is really volcanic glass.

Game of Thrones used Iceland's Thingvellir National Park as the set for the Bloody Gate. Its beautiful and rugged landscape is caused by the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meeting there and pulling apart at a rate of 2 centimetres per year. This made a rift valley: low land between two separating continents.

The gate is computer-generated but the landscape is real.

Bloody gate

The Bloody Gate in the movie.

Bloody gate

The Bloody Gate in real life.