Rocks are the hard mass of which the ground is made. Though we usually see them exposed in places such as cliffs, mountain crags and quarries, rocks are everywhere, even deep beneath the ground. Rocks can be as old as Earth itself, and are made of tiny crystals or grains of naturally occurring chemicals called minerals.

A rock is a solid mass of geological materials. Geological materials include individual mineral crystals, inorganic non-mineral solids like glass, pieces broken from other rocks, and even fossils. The geological materials in rocks may be inorganic, but they can also include organic materials such as the partially decomposed plant matter preserved in coal. A rock can be composed of only one type of geological material or mineral, but many are composed of several types. Figure 6.2 shows a rock made of three different kinds of minerals.

Rocks are grouped into three main categories based on how they form. Igneous rocks form when melted rock cools and solidifies. Sedimentary rocks form when fragments of other rocks are buried, compressed, and cemented together; or when minerals precipitate from solution, either directly or with the help of an organism. Metamorphic rocks form when heat and pressure alter a pre-existing rock. Although temperatures can be very high, metamorphism does not involve melting of the rock.

Credit: University of Saskatchewan

Picture credit: Google

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *