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What are rocks and minerals, anyway?

Rocks -
extensive mineral bodies composed of one or more     minerals in varying proportions which form part of the earth's crust.
Minerals -
a naturally occurring inorganic compound ("non-living
material") having fairly definite physical properties and
chemical composition.

Sedimentary Rocks

sandstone picture Sedimentary Rocks are pieces of other rocks! They are made of little, tiny pieces of igneous or metamorphic rocks that have been worn away, pressed into layers (usually beneath the sea) and then held together by different kinds of natural cement. This process can take millions of  years! 
EXAMPLE: Limestone, Sandstone 
Igneous Rock
basalt picture These rocks are formed when melted rock within the earth (magma) cools and then hardens.
EXAMPLE: Granite, Pumice, Obsidian

Metamorphic Rocks

gneiss picture These rocks are changed by heat, pressure, or fluids, or any combination of these. They can contain other types of rocks and minerals.
EXAMPLE: Marble, Slate


Rocks are usually made up of a combination of minerals. Minerals are made of elements, which are simply substances which cannot be broken down into other substances. Some minerals are made up of only one element, such as silver or diamond, but most minerals on earth are a combination of two or more elements. 

Student Resources
Feel free to Look!

 Geologylink  Smithsonian Gem & Stone
 Bill Nye Science  EarthNet

Hey Kids! Did you know...

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