Difference Between Rock and Mineral

Rock vs Mineral

Although everyone knows there is a difference between rock and mineral, not everyone knows those specific matters that make the two different from each other. It is common to see people who end up confusing a rock for a mineral and the other way around. Even educated individuals who have taken up a course or two in geology find it hard at times to tell one from the other.

Rocks are solid aggregates made up of minerals and mineraloids. They are classified according to their composition on the mineral and chemical level. These classify rocks as igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic. Rocks change from one type to another following the rock cycle model. When magma cools down, they form igneous rocks. Sedimentary rocks, on the other hand, are found close to the surface of the Earth. They are formed as a result of the deposition and compaction of sediments and organic matters. Rocks are transformed into metamorphic rocks after being exposed to varied pressure conditions and temperature levels. Both the pressure and temperature should be high enough to cause changes in the original mineral nature of the rocks.

A mineral, on the other hand, is a solid substance formed naturally with the aid of various geological conditions. Its chemical composition is considerably characteristic while its atomic structure is highly ordered. The composition of minerals can be in the form of simple elements and salts to silicates. Any substance can be considered a mineral only if it passes the set requirements. For one, it should come with a crystalline structure and be completely solid.

Difference between Rock and Mineral

The difference between rock and mineral lays on their very nature. While a mineral is something that occurs naturally and has a defined chemical composition, a rock is a collection of minerals. Some rocks contain a single mineral while others contain a large number of different minerals. There are minerals in rocks that can be found just anywhere such as mica and quartz, but there are also some that can be found in certain locations only. In some rocks, the minerals are large enough for the naked eye to see while other rocks contain really small bits that can only be seen with the use of a microscope.

Quick Recap:

› Rock is a solid aggregate made up of minerals and mineraloids.

› Mineral is a solid substance that has a defined chemical composition

› Rocks may contain a single mineral or a collection of many different minerals

› Rocks are always large solids whereas some minerals are minute bits that can only be seen through a microscope

› Some of the minerals are very rare and can be found in certain areas only, Some of the rare minerals are, arsenic, arcanite, Acetamide, Titanite & Arfvedsonite

Rocks and minerals are not completely opposite each other, but they are different entities. Being able to tell the difference between rock and mineral is really useful whether one is a student or just another working man. After all, minerals can end up being really valuable. No one wants to end up passing up on a valuable mineral simply because one fails to recognize it as one and is thinking that it is merely a rock of no value at all.

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