Difference Between a Rock and Mineral

Both rocks and minerals are commonly described as the basic elements of earth. Elements are basic forms of matter (solid, liquid, and gas) that cannot be further broken down through simple chemical processes. This is the reason why elements are considered as the building blocks of nature. Rocks, despite being the building blocks of our earth, are not elements, but are mixtures of two or more elements. Minerals however, are pure substances made up of the same element. Both rocks and minerals are buried in the soil and are usually extracted through mining. Rocks have great cultural and social value while minerals have industrial value.

Minerals are a bunch of similar elements combined together with a specific chemical composition. Rocks, on the other hand, are aggregates of minerals and non-minerals, and lack a specific chemical composition. Each mineral has a specific colour that distinguishes it from others, though there are some colourless minerals as well. On the other hand, not all the rocks have the same colour.  Scroll down to read the rest.


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    Even rocks formed by a combination of two particular elements or minerals do not have same colour and crystalline shape.

    Minerals usually have a specific shape and crystalline structure, and are usually appealing in terms of appearance. Rocks neither have crystals, nor do they have definite shapes. The classification of minerals is based on their chemical composition, and each family is defined by its crystalline structure and shape. Classification of rocks is also based on their mineral and chemical composition, along with the mode of formation.


    A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic solid substance with a unique chemical composition and a definite crystalline structure. Minerals are pure substances that are stable at room temperature and cannot be further broken down into simpler substances. Every mineral has a specific atomic structure. They are usually classified on the basis of the dominant anion, like oxides, halides, carbonates and silicates etc.

    Image courtesy: dalliancedesign.com

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    A rock is a combination of more than one minerals, firmly joined together to form a hard solid. Rocks are classified into three basic groups or families, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.

    Image courtesy: davidhanauer.com

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