Basalt 101: Nature’s “All-Natural” Rock Star Balances the Health of Soil

Open a bag of Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster and the first thing you’ll notice is the color—a deep, dark gray. The source is volcanic basalt, taken from Central Oregon’s legendary Cascade Mountains and turned into a finely milled product that contains the essential minerals and trace elements that plants depend on for healthy growth and development. It is a soil amendment that is sometimes called “rock dust.”

Not all rock dust is alike, however. In our book, basalt is the best thing you can do to balance the health of your soil—and here’s why.

Basalt is the most common rock in the Earth’s crust and the material from which many soils around the world have been formed. It is created through the cooling and solidification of magma (the molten rock that lies below the Earth’s surface) or lava (which is magma that rises above the Earth’s surface, usually during a volcanic eruption).

Compared to other volcanic rocks which are high in quartz, basalt weathers relatively quickly. This means that it breaks down readily in soil. Applying finely ground basalt powder is like applying a fresh deposit of natural soil minerals to your lawn and garden. The product begins to release nutrients to plants as soon as the roots make contact and additional nutrients become available with ongoing weathering – thereby resulting in a steady flow of nutrients over time.

Using basalt as a soil amendment is not new. In the 1930s researchers in Europe used finely milled basalt to treat and improve the productivity of degraded forest lands. One of the most comprehensive studies of the benefits of crushed basalt came from D. Hotman de Villiers who conducted a series of trials that led to increased sugarcane yields on the island of Mauritius (tests started as early as 1937 and resumed later in the 1940s and 1950s at the Sugar Cane Research Station of Mauritius).

The research continues today, demonstrating that volcanic basalt can improve root systems, increase yields and promote general plant health in a wide variety of crops and conditions—including those in the west, where soil salt build-up and mineral deficiency is an issue.

We call basalt the “rock star” of all-natural soil amendments. Give it a try, and we think you’ll agree!


At Cascade Minerals, we produce the highest quality volcanic basalt powder available. Approved for organic production, our 100% natural remineralizing soil booster releases the essential minerals and trace elements that your plants need to flourish and aids in the regeneration of your soil.