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What clay looks like: Estonian clay from the Quaternary epoch.

Clay is a fine-grained silicate mineral made when rocks break down. Wet clay is soft and can be shaped to make pottery, bricks and other things. When it is shaped and then fired in a kiln to make it hard, it becomes pottery.

Clay often contains some water because the water molecules stick to the tiny grains. There may also be some organic materials in the clay.