Geology Unit Study - Rock Identification

Week 6: We identified rocks.

Rocks are used to build roads, buildings, make glass, and carve. They are set into jewelry, used as game pieces, table tops, and in a variety of other ways. Within the three main categories of rock sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous, rocks can be further divided.

The book How the Earth Works (How It Works) has a nine step process for further identifying rocks. Many of the steps are similar to those used in Mineral Identification. Looking at the grains within a rock, determining if it fizzes with vinegar, testing its hardness, and calculating its density provide significant clues to identification.

The first step was to determine if the rock fizzed with vinegar. If it did fizz, it was likely to be a type of limestone.

Each of the steps in the process asks a question and then directs to another step depending on the answer.

By working through the steps rocks identification is narrowed to sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous rock. For each type there are examples of the most common rocks from the group with pictures and some characteristics of the rock.

The rock section of geology contains pictures and brief descriptions of different types of rocks which was helpful during the identification process.

Rock identification is difficult, and going through the steps in the process gave us a better idea of what to look for when examining new rocks.

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