Published April 2024  • Read Time: 10 minutes
Isua is one of the most ancient rocks on the planet and offers tantalizing clues about the dawn of life itself.  This metamorphic rock is found only in the Isua Greenstone Belt in southwestern Greenland. At one point, it was believed to be a fossil, perhaps a variety of Stromatolite.   It actually contains chemofossils, a chemical remanent, which indicates the  presence of carbon-based lifeforms.  Isua’s energy is exceptionally grounding.  It’s a fantastic stone for connecting with Earth energies and for developing emotional resilience.

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Isua Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Isua is a powerful stone for connecting to earth energies.  It has a timeless and ancient quality that helps us develop true wisdom.  Isua helps us to take the long view and to consider long-term impacts rather than thinking only of short-term gains.  It teaches us that we are all connected and that we have a responsibility to be good ancestors to those who will come after us.   It shows us that we are in a symbiotic relationship with the Earth, and that taking good care of our home is an important part of taking care of ourselves.  Isua is an incredibly grounding and stabilizing stone that reminds us of who we are intrinsically.  It deepens our spiritual awareness and can help us sink into a meditative state.  If we have gone through a difficult experience and feel spiritually adrift or confused, Isua sings us back into our body and soul.  It is a great choice for aligning the chakras and making sure we are firmly rooted to the Earth rather than top-heavy.

Metaphysical Properties Isua
Chakra Root
Element Earth
Numerology 1, 4
Zodiac Aries, Virgo, Capricorn, Aquarius

Emotional Healing Properties

Isua offers gifts of emotional resilience.  It helps us develop a core of strength and stability that we can rely on regardless of circumstances.  It is especially useful when emotions like fear, anger, or sadness threaten our sense of self.  It helps us differentiate between the reality of a situation, our emotional reaction, and the stories we tell ourselves about what our emotions means.  For example, we can be sad something didn’t work out, but it doesn’t mean we are a failure.  We can feel any emotion and go through a variety of experiences, while still being a person that is loveable and valuable.  This kind of clarity, makes it a great stone to work with if we are in therapy or trying to work through deep-seated issues.  Isua is also highly recommended for protection for introverts and empaths who may feel drained by hyperactive or emotionally-loud people.  It helps introverts and empaths to stay centered and to maintain good emotional boundaries.

Mental Healing Properties

Isua is a wonderful stone for clear thinking, especially when emotions are high.  It can help us to see things from a distance and take a long-view.  It can also help us to narrow down and see the important details.  If we are not sure if something is problem or who is responsible, Isua can help us to separate the stories we tell ourselves from the truth of the situation.  It shows us how to set our emotions aside for the moment, and just call a spade, a spade.  It reminds us that we can be understanding, while still not tolerating bad behavior.  If we need to leave a relationship or a situation, Isua helps us to gracefully exit and to protect ourselves.  If we need to stay, Isua helps us to ground down, stay centered, and be reasonable.

Physical Healing Properties

Isua reminds us to keep going back to the basics.  It helps us remember that we are biological creatures, and not just unique human souls.  We need food, water, sunshine, exercise, and rest.  It also reminds us that we are mammals and social creatures, so we also need connection and hugs.  These are basic physical needs and should be treated as such. Isua teaches us that when we love the soft animal inside of us, everything is easier.  Isua is a fantastic stone to work with when we need to rebuild our body.  This might be because of an illness or injury, or simply because we’ve been neglecting our physical health.  Rather than making it complicated, Isua helps us to keep it simple.  It is a lovely talisman for the spine as well as for conditions that impact us on a cellular level, like the spread of cancer.

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Isua Mineralogy

Where does Isua come from?

Isua is a metamorphic rock found only in southwestern Greenland.

Mining and Treatments

Isua is mined at its primary deposit, near Nuuk, Greenland.

It is completely natural, enhanced only by cutting and polishing.

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Do healing crystals speak to you?

At Moonrise Crystals our healing stones sing songs of peace and freedom.  That’s because they are truly ethically-sourced.  And that matters.

Mineral Family

Isua is a type of metamorphic rock.  As an easy way to understand the difference, think of rocks as being like cookies and minerals as being the ingredients which make up those cookies. Many different minerals are used to create a rock!  Isua is primarily composed of Magnetite, Quartz and Dolomite, with minor Graphite inclusions.  Early reports suggested that the Isua was a form of stromatolite, or fossilized algae.  More recent reports show that the “fossils” are actually granoblastic quartz and dolomite boudins that show a “chemofossil” of carbon, in the form of graphite inclusions.  In Isua stones that are striped, the dark stripes are Magnetite and iron, the lighter stripes are the Quartz, Dolomite, and Graphite.

Isua’s energy works well with its family – other metamorphic rocks.  Try it in combination with Atlantisite, Buddstone, CinabriteImpactiteNuummitePicasso Marble, Que Sera, Scheelite LaceTiffany Stone, and Unakite

Isua Formation and Crystal Associates

Isua is a metamorphic rock.  Metamorphic rocks are created when an existing igneous or sedimentary rock (or potentially another type of metamorphic rock!) is subjected to new pressures and high temperatures. This causes the atoms and molecules to rearrange themselves into new minerals while still in a hard solid state.  In the case of Isua, the original rocks were both igneous (mafic volcanic) rocks and sedimentary.  Stones that have stripes are sedimentary, while stones that are a single color could be either type.  The rocks were formed between 3.7-3.8 billion years ago and are among the most ancient rocks on earth.  The dark

Isua’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Nuummite and Ruby

Mineralogy Isua
Rock Type Metamorphic Rock
Major Minerals Magnetite, Quartz, Dolomite
Minor Minerals Graphite
Color Black to gray
Luminescence None
Texture Granoblastic
Transparency Opaque

History of Isua

Isua is a metamorphic stone that teaches us about the dawn of life on this planet.  These ancient rocks come from the Isua Greenstone Belt in southwestern Greenland.  Almost everywhere else on Earth, geological forces move through the rock cycle, gradually transitioning between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.  But, in a few special locations, there has been surprisingly little change for eons.  The Isua Greenstone Belt is one of those exceptional stabile areas.  Isua stones date between 3.8 – 3.7 billion years old.  To put that into perspective, life on Earth started 3.7 billion year ago.  In fact, the reason scientists know these dates so precisely is from studying Isua and a few other exceptionally ancient rocks.

The Isua Greenstone Belt is the largest exposed area of Eoarchean rocks on Earth.  Eoarchean is a geological time period that dates between 4 – 3.6 billion years ago.  It’s name is Greek for “Early Dawn.”  It was during the Eoarchean era that the Earth formed into a rocky and hospitable planet that is capable of sustaining life.  At the start of the Eoarchean era, the surface of our planet was covered by molten lava oceans.  These lava oceans were in the process of cooling down into rock, so the lava was either directly on the surface or just barely hidden beneath a thin crust.

Astronomers and geologists believe that as the planets Neptune and Uranus grew into gas giants, they moved farther away from the Sun and transformed into ice giants.  As those two massive planets traveled, their gravity disrupted orbits in the inner and outer solar system and sent objects from the asteroid belt and Kepler belt into the inner solar system.  The Earth, as well as Mars, Venus, and Mercury were all frequently bombarded with asteroids, comets, and other extraterrestrial debris.  When those impacts hit the Earth, they either landed in the lava oceans or would break the thin rocky crust and molten lava would spill out.  In fact, our Moon was likely created by one of these impact events, when an ancient planet called Theia collided with the Earth 4.5 billion years ago.  That collusion created not only the Moon, but also a molten lava ocean on Earth that would have been over 1200 meters deep.  Towards the end of the Eoarchean era, the lava oceans finally fully crusted over and the first tectonic plates appeared to glide upon their surface.  Liquid water began to flow across the Earth and shortly after we see the first signs of life.  It is thought that both water and life may have been “seeded” from asteroids and comets.

The oldest fossils on Earth are younger than the Isua Greenstone Belt.  The earliest fossils are 3.5 billion -year-old fossilized algae called Stromatolites.  Isua does hoever contains “chemofossils.”  This is a carbon-rich layer within the stone that suggest the earliest signs of biological activity.  On Earth, all life is carbon-based, so the presence of a carbon-rich layer in the Isua rocks strongly indicates that the rocks were formed at the same time that life was beginning to come together.

Additional References:

  1. Nutman, Allen P et al. “Rapid emergence of life shown by discovery of 3,700-million-year-old microbial structures” in Nature 537, p. 535-538 (2016)
  2. Kaufman, Marc. “The Magma Ocean and Us” Astrobiology at NASA

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