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Minerals vs Rocks

A mineral is a naturally-occurring substance formed through geological

processes that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered
atomic structure and specific physical properties. A rock is a naturally
occurring aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids. Rocks do not have a
definite chemical composition.

Comparison chart

Minerals Rocks
Study Mineralogy Petrology
Chemical composition
Has a definite chemical
composition; minerals are inorganic
Does not have a definite chemical
Examples Gold, silver, fluoride etc. Limestone, Basalt, Coal, Claystone
color color is usually the same color is not the same
shape usually have a shape no definite shape
fossils no fossils some have fossils
Function in biology
Minerals help in bone and tooth
formation, blood coagulation and
muscle contraction.
shelter and foundation
requirement for the
human body
Only some minerals are required by
the human body for nutrition.
little to none

Contents: Minerals vs Rocks

Scientific Study
Petrology is the scientific study of rocks
Mineralogy is the the scientific study of minerals
Rocks are generally made of two or more minerals. A main determining factor in
the formation of minerals in a rock mass is the chemical composition of the mass,
for a certain mineral can be formed only when the necessary elements are
present in the rock.
Calcite is most common in limestones, as these consist essentially of calcium
carbonate; quartz is common in sandstones and in certain igneous
rocks like granite which contain a high percentage of silica. Two rock masses
may have very much the same bulk composition and yet consist of entirely
different assemblages of minerals.
Composition of minerals varies from one mineral to another. Some may
have a high content of carbonate while others may have a high content of oxides.
Even their physical characteristics may vary. While one may be known for its
hardness, another may have a characteristic luster. All these variations also form
standards for classifying them in broad categories.


Rocks are classified by their mineral and chemical composition, by the
texture of the constituent particles and by the processes that formed them.

These indicators separate rocks into
igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. Igneous rocks are formed when molten
magma cools and are divided into two main categories: plutonic rock and volcanic.
Sedimentary rocks are formed by deposition of either clastic sediments, organic
matter, or chemical precipitates (evaporites), followed by compaction of
the particulate matter and cementation during diagenesis. Metamorphic rocks are
formed by subjecting any rock type (including previously-formed metamorphic rock)
to different temperature and pressure conditions than those in which the original
rock was formed.
There are currently more than 4,000 known minerals, according to
the International Mineralogical Association, which is responsible for the
approval of and naming of new mineral species found in nature. Of these,
perhaps 150 can be called "common," 50 are "occasional," and the rest are "rare"
to "extremely rare."
Minerals may be classified according to chemical composition, for example- The
silicate class, the carbonate class, element class etc. A mineral can be identified
by several physical properties such as crystal structure, hardness, color,
luster, specific gravity etc.
Rocks are very useful in making roads, buildings, polishing materials, industrial
work etc. Rocks like granite and marble are now used in home improvement for
aesthetic reasons.
Different minerals are useful for various purposes like the gem industry, for
carving, as abrasives and for formation of other elements or rocks.