Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Rocks and Minerals

Rocks vs Minerals

For so long a time, there has been a great confusion between the terms rock and mineral. Most people may use one in place of the other and vice versa when in fact they shouldn’t be. Rocks and minerals have a very clear disparity between them. It is fairly easy to separate which is which by simply referring to their definitions. However, literally classifying a mineral from a rock may take years of studies since there are lots of these matters lurking anywhere in the planet.

Simply stated, minerals are all made of only one matter where, under ordinary conditions, they can form the so-called crystals. These crystals are often too minute in size that they cannot be seen readily by the naked eye. Some of them may even form glass most especially when subjected to rapid cooling. Thus, minerals are just crystals stacked with each other. Because of this, minerals are harvested (mined) for many reasons. For one, they are mined because of the specific elements within the mineral. Alternatively, they can be used for aesthetic purposes more likely attributed to their unique characteristics of luster, color and hardness amongst others.

Minerals occur naturally in the planet. With this, all other naturally occurring elements can also be regarded as minerals. In addition, minerals are all classified as inorganic matter.

Conversely, rocks are basically composed of one or more types of minerals combined. A good example of a rock with a dominant mineral is the sandstone. This rock is typically composed of the mineral quartz. Hence, it is definitive that minerals are indeed rock’s prime building blocks. Contrary to the belief of many, rocks aren’t always solid in nature. There are less solid rock forms like clays, soil and even volcanic magma.

Perhaps some of the most common mineral combinations that form rocks are the quartz, mica and feldspar combo. These minerals can form the rocks pegmatite, slate, schist, gneiss and granite (the popular kitchen surface for kitchen sinks, bar table tops and the like). Marble and limestone are popular flooring rocks and are made of the mineral calcite. Naturally, when volcanoes erupt they give off the basaltic rock which is composed of augite and plagioclase feldspar.

All in all, rocks are simply defined with what they are actually made of. Minerals on the other hand all have the same denominator ‘“ the crystals. They can become shinier than diamonds or to some extent duller than coal. Nevertheless, they differ from each other because:

1. Rock is a more general term than a mineral.
2. Rocks are made of minerals whereas minerals are made of crystals.


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