APPLICATION OF BASALT POWDER IN AGRICULTURE
The origin of the Earth, the endogenous and exogenous phenomena acting throughout its tumultuous history, the dynamic processes of formation and transformation of rocks and the interaction of these factors with all other elements of nature constitute the most fascinating themes in which the whole powerful and creative human mind is concentrated.

Intense and extensive volcanic manifestations have developed in the past, originating the basaltic rocks. Among geological phenomena, volcanic eruptions are probably the natural process that most arouses the attention of scientists, researchers and society in general, by its magnitude, scope and effects, generally with a great and dramatic impact across the whole society. The basaltic rocks, characterized as effusive igneous rocks, that is, rocks formed as a result of the cooling and crystallization of extensive masses of lava, which have abundantly spilled over the surface of the earth, constitute more than 90% of the land of Cape Verde.

Basaltic magma originates in the depths of the earth's crust, probably at the interface between the mantle and the earth's crust. Upon reaching the surface, it overflows in extensive spills of an incandescent material, around 1000 ° C, already in process of cooling. This process of cooling and solidification, although relatively slow, can be significantly accelerated when basaltic magma is submerged in extensive bodies of water, as is the case of Cape Verde because it consists of volcanic islands in the middle of the ocean.

Although it has been the subject of long and in-depth studies over many decades, this precious fruit of nature, for its wide application in the most varied areas, is, perhaps, one of Cape Verde's greatest economic riches, but the general public is little aware of the economic potential of this precious raw material.

Indeed, in addition to the common application of basalt derivatives in the building and public works sector, both as a building and decoration element, basalt finds many other fields of application, namely in agriculture through its use as fertilizer and as soil corrector element, thus contributing to reducing production costs and dependence on chemical inputs that entail high environmental costs.

Cape Verde, being a country privileged by nature, has important reserves of basalt in quantity and quality. Therefore, if its exploitation is carried out in a way that minimizes environmental impact, basalt could be a net contributor to anchor the development not only of Cape Verde but also of many friendly nations, which depend on the import of these products to the development of their basic infrastructures, essential to their economic and social development.

Inserted in a dynamic of worldwide initiatives and actions in favour of the environment, the possible contribution of one of the by-products of basalt thus assumes particular relevance in the reduction of the human ecological footprint but also in the context of nutrition and human consumption: it is therefore the application of basalt powder in agriculture.

The continued use of chemical fertilisers, traditionally used in agriculture, not only impoverishes the soil but also has a very high environmental price. On the contrary, the basalt powder enriches the soil with nutrients, as it contains in its composition dozens of elements that promote the development of plants.

In fact, basalt powder is an alternative fertiliser to traditional chemical fertilisers, which, as is well known, have several drawbacks, namely soil quality degradation, groundwater and air pollution, as well as pest resistance in plants.

Basalt, despite being one of the main endogenous riches of Cape Verde, is still little used as such. This precious raw material finds a wide field of industrial application with high potential, namely in the industries mentioned above, but very in particular as fertiliser for Agriculture and soil pH correction.

In the industrial field, for example, basalt wool is produced by the melting of the basaltic rock at high temperatures, typically at 1450 ° C, and is subsequently transformed into fibres by a centrifuging process. These fibres have excellent chemical and thermal resistance, besides having low thermal conductivity associated to a perfect acoustic absorption. Basalt fibres with 9 to 11 microns are widely used in acoustical insulation of cars, stoves and other equipment where the cost-benefit ratio of thermal and acoustic insulation is relevant, such as in the automotive, aeronautics and aerospace industries, or in the home comfort.

The consumption index of rock-derived aggregates measures the level of development of the Nations, being reflected directly in the level of development of the infrastructures in each Country. This is evidenced by the per capita consumption index of the countries which oscillates between 3 and 18 tonnes, depending on the level of development of each country. For example, the average per capita consumption index of rock-derived aggregates is around 18 tonnes in Canada, 7.5 tonnes in the United States, 8 tonnes in European Union and 3 tonnes in developing countries.