Identifying Rocks and Minerals for Kids (page 2)

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Author: Tricia Edgar


Geologists study rocks and minerals, and part of the process of studying rocks is identifying them. Different rocks and minerals are found in different places, and this can help geologists figure out what rocks they might have.

Another way to determine what rock or mineral you have is to look at its characteristics. Like plants and animals, rocks have characteristics that help us determine what they are. Some are very hard, while others break easily. Rocks are different colors, and they shine differently in the light.

In this experiment, you used minerals. While rocks can have many minerals in them, minerals are pure and have definite characteristics. In the geology world, rocks are more like a salad, and minerals are like the salad ingredients.

Why do rocks and minerals have different characteristics? There are many reasons. They’re made out of different elements that are put together in different crystal structures. You may have chosen quartz in your experiment. This common mineral is made from silicon dioxide (silicon and oxygen). A diamond is made out of pure carbon. So is graphite. The difference is that their crystals are organized differently. It’s like taking an equal number of blocks and arranging them in different ways. They make different structures, but they’re still the same blocks. 

What minerals are in the common rocks around your home?

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