Welcome to the Rock Identification Page! Below are some links that you can visit to help you identify rocks or minerals that you have. Just click on one of the links and follow the steps to identify your mineral or read on to learn about factors to help with rock identification.

Mineral Identification ~ minsocam.org

Mineral Identification Project ~ fremontica.com

Identifying Minerals ~ rocksforkids.com

          There are many factors to consider when identifying rocks and minerals: shape, color, opacity, streak, hardness, and density are a few. Each of these factors will be explained below, so keep readin!

Shape
          To clearly see the differences between some of the crystal shapes, click on the shapes below for templates to build your own paper models! It is best if you print the templates on heavy paper like cardstock or construction paper. Click here for a page that will help you understand the differences in the shapes.


Cubic

Tetragonal

Orthorhombic

Monoclinic

Rhombohedral

Triclinic

Trigonal

Hexagonal

Color
          Rocks come in every color that you can ever imagine!

Opacity
          Opacity is how much light comes through the rock. If you hold a rock up to the sunlight and light shines through the rock, then it has transparency. If no light shows through the rock, then it is opaque. Many quartz rocks will be slightly or mostly transparent while jasper will always be opaque.

Streak
          When you scratch a rock across a chalky surface (like the backside of a bathroom tile), a streak will usually appear. Most rocks have a brownish, yellow-brown, or reddish-brown streak, but just like the color of minerals, streaks can come is all colors! Some rocks, like quartz, don't streak at all!

Hardness
          Hardness is how hard a rock is compared to other rocks or household items. While talc is the softest, diamond is the hardest. Only another diamond can scratch a diamond. To see how hard various minerals are compared to things you can find around your house, look at the chart below.
1.
Talc
--------
Pencil lead
2.
Gypsum
--------
Fingernail
3.
Calcite
--------
Penny
4.
Fluorite
5.
Apatite
--------
Knife blade
6.
Feldspar
--------
Nail
7.
Quartz
--------
Porcelain tile
8.
Topaz
9.
Corundum
10.
Diamond
Density
        Density is how heavy a mineral of a certain mass is. If a mineral is heavier than another mineral of the same size, then it is more dense. Gold is known for being very heavy. That is because it is a very dense mineral. Pumice on the other hand, is a very lightweight rocks with lots of pores. It is not a very dense rock.

Copyright © 2014 Elizabeth Hixon