AUSTIN (KXAN) – We are less than one week away from the Fourth of July, a holiday known for colorful displays of fireworks. You may have found yourself wondering how these fireworks get their colors.

The short answer is minerals! Different minerals are used as the base of specific chemicals. These chemicals give rise to the wide variety of firework colors that you will see on Monday. Here’s the rundown of which minerals yield which colors and what other interesting uses they have:

Mineral Element ColorOther Uses
Strontium (Sr)RedOften found in ceramic magnets and drilling fluid for oil and gas
Sodium (Na) YellowCommonly associated with salts; sodium chloride (NaCl) is table salt. Other sodium compounds are used to make PVC plastics and paper-pulping compounds.
Barium (Ba) Green Often used in drilling fluids for oil and gas; good at blocking radiation and is used in medical field for radiation sheilding
Copper (Cu)BlueGreat conductor of electricity so it is often used in wiring for electronics. It was also one of the main building materials for the Statue of Liberty!

Minerals are also responsible for many other visual effects in fireworks shows. For example, iron filling and small pieces of charcoal are used to make golden sparks, and loud bangs and bright flashes are made with aluminum powder. Different minerals can also be mixed together to create new firework colors – much like mixing paint!

Mineral ElementColorOther Uses
Strontium (Sr) and Sodium (Na)OrangeSame as previous
Strontium (Sr) and Copper (Cu)PurpleSame as previous
Titanium (Ti), Zirconium (Zr), and Magnesium (Mg) Silvery/White Titanium is used as a white pigment and to make metal alloys. Zirconium is used to make ceramics. Magnesium is used in steel manufacturing.

We’ve previously talked about how weather can impact fireworks shows. So, what’s in store for next Monday’s forecast?

It’s going to be hot and dry! It’ll be mostly sunny with no rain in sight. It’ll be the perfect day to spend time out on the water, just remember to stay hydrated and wear your sunscreen! As you begin your fireworks shows, be mindful of the dry ground and watch for any sparks that may ignite any surrounding vegetation.

Monday night forecast

Have a fun and safe Fourth of July weekend!