Difference Between Rocks and Minerals

Most everyone knows that rocks and minerals are different, but most find it difficult and in some cases impossible to list what the differences are.

This article aims to make it easier to remember what things make rocks different from minerals and in the process solve Sandra’s question in our questions section; since we know that more than one can have the same concern.


Rocks are made up of solidified minerals and mineraloids. A rock could be made up of one or more minerals that combine. For example, granite; which is one of the most common rocks, it is made up of feldspar, quartz and biotite.

Rocks are classified according to various characteristics that they may have, such as minerals and their chemical composition, texture and permeability. The main distinction is based on the process by which they are formed.

There is what is called the rock cycle or lithological cycle , which describes the formation and transformation of rocks over time and according to this they are classified into three types: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.

Igneous ones are those that are formed thanks to the cooling and solidification of molten lava. They can be formed with or without crystallization and can be divided into plutonic or volcanic rocks.

Sedimentary rocks are formed by the deposition of material within bodies of water or on the surface of the earth. Mineral sediments settle and accumulate over a period of time and eventually solidify into a larger piece.

Metamorphic rocks are those that change their structure or composition by metamorphism. Certain rocks, when subjected to pressure or heat, can change shape and change chemically and physically.

Rocks have played an important role in the life of human beings and their development as a species. They were initially used as tools and are now used massively in construction. Some minerals that they carry inside and that are useful for people are also extracted from them.

MINERALS  Difference Between Rocks and Minerals

Minerals are solid and homogeneous substances, which have regular structures and are found in rocks and in the earth’s crust.

Minerals occur naturally and are formed through various geological processes. They are solid and stable at room temperature, in addition, they can be represented by their chemical formula. They have an ordered atomic structure.

By definition in order, for a sample to be classified as a mineral it must comply with the following: the substance must be natural, stable at room temperature, represented by a chemical formula and have an ordered atomic arrangement. However, the last two characteristics are hotly debated among scientists.

The study of minerals is known as Mineralogy. Minerals can be divided into two categories: silicates and non-silicates. The former are those with the unit base of a silicate mineral (SiO4) 4-tetrahedron. These are divided into several classes depending on their dominant chemistry, which includes native elements, sulfides, halides, oxides and hydroxides, carbonates and nitrates, borates, sulfates, phosphates, and organic compounds.

Non-silicate minerals are rarer and less abundant than the former.

A large number of minerals can be distinguished by characteristics such as crystal structure, hardness, luster, clearness, color, streak, toughness, cleavage, fracture, and specific gravity. The hardness of a mineral is measured on a scale of 1 to 10 and this scale is called the Mohs scale. Diamonds are rated 10, while talc is rated 1.

Minerals are commonly used in everyday life and are also important to the economy of countries. Natural resources such as oil, also have some types of minerals.

Key differences between minerals and rocks

  • Rocks are formed from the combination of one or more minerals or mineraloids, while minerals are substances that are stable at room temperature, with a chemical formula and an atomic number.
  • Rocks are characterized by their mineral types, texture, and permeability; while minerals are characterized by their structure, hardness, brightness, transparency, color, cleavage, fracture.
  • Rocks are classified as igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic; while minerals are classified into silicates and non-silicates.
  • Rocks can be found almost everywhere and are free, while minerals can be rare and not very abundant; reason why its price varies.
  • The rocks are used in construction, as weapons (to remember the old days) and to extract minerals; while minerals are necessary for the body, since they regulate certain bodily functions, help in the formation of bones and teeth, in blood clotting and in muscle development.
  • Examples of stones: granite, limestone, conglomerate and sandstone.
  • Examples of minerals: gold, silver, quartz, mica, and feldspar.

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