EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Fireworks have been brightening the night sky for thousands of years. But have you ever wondered, what makes them so colorful? The answer is simple — Minerals.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) shared what minerals produce specific colors, as well as the different uses for each mineral.

The bright greens are produced by Barium, a mineral often used in medicine as well as oil and gas production.

Deep reds are made by Strontium. This mineral is similar to Barium in the sense that it is used for oil and gas production. But Strontium can also be used for signaling and ceramic magnets.

Blues are yielded from Copper, what pennies used to be made purely out of. Copper is now widely used for electronics and power generation.

Yellow is made by Sodium. This mineral is used to make polyvinyl chloride plastic.

Just like the mixing of primary colors, different colors of fireworks can be produced by mixing minerals together. For example, Strontium and and Sodium make bright orange.

Titanium, Zirconium, and Magnesium alloys produce a brilliant silvery white.

Copper and Strontium come together to make lavender fireworks.

Despite what you might think, gold sparks are not created with gold. They’re actually produced from Iron filings and small pieces of charcoal.

And lastly, the bright flashes and loud bangs come from aluminum powder. Click here to see a UGSC graphic detailing this information as well as more facts on fireworks.