Rocks are present all around us, and wherever you go, you can find them in every nook and cranny. Rocks have been around since the formation of our planet. They can be small, big, smooth, or rough, and may have various shapes. Minerals are homogeneous solid substances formed by geological processes. They have a specific chemical composition, which is not found in rocks. In fact, rocks are composed of minerals along with other substances.
Different Types of Rocks and Minerals
Add some fun to your kid's routine apart from the hectic study schedule by incorporating rock and mineral activities. As they are always active in adventures, you can even organize a trip to your nearby hill station, valley, or river bed to collect rock and mineral samples.
Types of Rocks
There are three types, which are classified based on their formation. They are identified by comparing various characteristics, including color, hardness, texture, chemical composition, and fossil content. These types are:
- Igneous Rocks - They are formed immediately after cooling down of magma. If this process takes place underneath the Earth's surface, intrusive igneous rocks are formed (e.g. granite); whereas extrusive ones are formed after cooling of the volcanic lava or molten rock (e.g. basalt) on the Earth's surface.
- Sedimentary Rocks - They are formed after deposition and compaction of eroded matter and transported sediments (For example, sandstone, mudstone, limestone, etc.). Formation of these rocks takes place on or below the Earth's surface.
- Metamorphic Rocks - They are formed from igneous, sedimentary, or another metamorphic rock, after getting subjecting to a very high temperature and pressure (For example, marble, phyllite, chlorite schist, etc.).
Types of Minerals
As of date, more than 2000 types of minerals have been identified, and it is impossible to remember all the types of minerals. Based on the presence or absence of silica, minerals are categorized into two types:
- Silicate Minerals - The primary components for silicate minerals are silica and oxygen. They are formed after cooling down of molten rocks, either on the Earth's surface or below the surface. Some common examples of silicate minerals are quartz, mica, and feldspar.
- Non-Silicate Minerals - As the name signifies, silica and oxygen are absent from this category of minerals. They may be formed after cooling down of magma or after modification of magma. (For example, oxides, sulfides, and carbonates).
Fun Facts about Rocks and Minerals
- Igneous rocks are the oldest among all types.
- Rocks are changing form continuously by different forces of nature (wind, water, glacier, etc.)
- Minerals and rocks are broken down into smaller pieces by the process of weathering.
- Rocks formed at the beginning of the Earth's formation are modified and changed into a different form.
- Scientists use meteorites and rocks collected from space to study more about the solar system.
- Some of the rock samples collected from the moon were found to be similar with those found on our planet.
- Basalt formed after cooling down of volcanic lava is the most commonly occurring rock.
- The mineral diamond is the hardest known substance on Earth.
- The most commonly occurring mineral is quartz (a silicate type), which is again classified into different types (for example, smoky quartz and rosy quartz)
You can purchase samples of these rocks and minerals from geological exhibitions and museums. Allow your kids to use them for creating crafts and decorative items out of the rocks.