Rocks vs Minerals

The differences and similarities between rocks and minerals

Definition of Rocks and Minerals

Rock: concrete particle made up of minerals

Mineral: an inorganic material naturally created in nature

4 Characteristics of Minerals


  1. Forms in nature
  2. Is a solid
  3. Has a definite chemical makeup
  4. Has a crystal structure

3 Characteristics of Rocks

  1. Solids
  2. Made in nature
  3. Made up of minerals

15 Examples of Rocks and Minerals

Flint: Rock that was used to make spears and knives in the Stone Age

Coal: A sedimentary rock, formed from decayed plants, is mainly used in power plants to make electricity.

Limestone: A sedimentary rock, it is used mainly in the manufacture of Portland cement, the production of lime, manufacture of paper, petrochemicals, insecticides, linoleum, fiberglass, glass, carpet backing and as the coating on many types of chewing gum.

Shale: A sedimentary rock, well stratified in thin beds.

Conglomerate: A sedimentary rock with a variable hardness, consisted of rounded or angular rock or mineral fragments cemented by silica, lime, iron oxide, etc.

Sandstone: A sedimentary rock with a rounded surface. Generally thick-bedded, varicolored, rough feel due to uneven surface produced by breaking around the grains. Used for construction mostly.

Granite: An igneous-plutonic rock, medium to coarse-grained that is high in silica, potassium, sodium and quartz but low in calcium, iron and magnesium.

Pumice: An igneous-volcanic rock, it is a porous, brittle variety of rhyolite and is light enough to float. It is formed when magma of granite composition erupts at the earth’s surface or intrudes the crust at shallow depths. It is used as an abrasive material in hand soaps, emery boards, etc.

Gabbro: An igneous-plutonic rock, generally massive, but may exhibit a layered structure produced by successive layers of different mineral composition. It is widely used as crushed stone for concrete aggregate, road metal, railroad ballast, etc. Smaller quantities are cut and polished for dimension stone (called black granite).

Basalt: An igneous volcanic rock, dark gray to black, it is the volcanic equivalent of plutonic gabbro and is rich in ferromagnesian minerals. Basalt can be used in aggregate.

Schist: A metamorphic uneven-granular, medium to coarse grained, crystalline with prominent parallel mineral orientation. Goes from silvery white to all shades of gray with yellow to brown tones depending on the mineral concentration. Some schists have graphite and some are used as building stones.

Gneiss: A metamorphic uneven granular medium to coarse grained crystalline with more or less parallel mineral orientation. Colors are too variable to be of diagnostic value. Due to physical and chemical similarity between many gneisses and plutonic igneous rocks some are used as building stones and other structural purposes.

Quartzite: A metamorphic or sedimentary rock with crystalline texture, consists of rounded quartz grains cemented by crystalline quartz, generally white, light gray or yellow to brown.

Marble: A metamorphic even-granular grain to medium grained and may be uneven granular and coarse grained in calc-silicate rock.

Obsidian: Made of naturally reoccurring volcanic glass.

Explanation of How Rocks Are Used In Daily Life

Rocks are used all the time in daily life. They are used to make lots of tools, machinery, and many other everyday devices.