Difference Between Rocks and Minerals

Main Difference

The main difference between Rocks and Minerals is that Rocks are a mixture of different minerals and some impurities, whereas, minerals are chemical elements.

Rocks vs. Minerals

Rock is a combination of one or more different minerals. A mineral is not a mixture, but it is an element. Rocks consist of mineraloids. Minerals abide alone. Rock has no specific texture. Minerals have uniform chemical texture. Rocks can be of any shape while minerals have a clean, crystalline shape.

Rock can be organic if it contains fossils. Minerals are purely inorganic. Rocks are huge conversely minerals have small sizes. The study of rocks is called petrology. Mineralogy is a scientific study of minerals.

Rocks provide shelter while minerals perform some biological functions in the human body. Rocks are nutrient-free. Some minerals are nutritionally essential for the human body. Rocks classify as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary while minerals classes are halides, fluorides, etc.

Rocks do not contain unique colors. Minerals have same color. Rocks embed old animals and plants fossils. Minerals are present alone embedded in rocks. Rock’s source is surface of the earth. The source of minerals is the earth’s crust and rocks.

Rocks are cut to use it. Minerals are mined deep in the earth. Granite, slate, and limestone are examples of rocks. Calcium, zinc, and sodium are examples of minerals. People use rocks mostly for construction purposes while minerals use varies according to the type of mineral.

Comparison Chart

RocksMinerals
Rocks are a mixture of mineraloids.A Mineral is a crystal-shaped chemical constituent.
Chemical Composition
No definite compositionDistinct composition
Shape
No specific shapeCrystalline shape
Nature
Can be organicInorganic
Size
Small than a mountain, larger than a stoneUsually small
Biological Functions
Refuge and foundationHelps in tooth and bone development
Nutritional Value
No oneThe body requires some minerals
Science
PetrologyMineralogy
Fossils
Some contain fossilsNo embedded fossils
Examples
Sodium, potassium, zincClaystone, granite

What are Rocks?

The aggregate of one or more minerals, mineraloids, or some organic remains is called rock. The mineraloids do not have crystalline composition. Rocks consist of precious minerals. The minerals in a rock are identified by the chemical composition of the mass of rock. For example, calcite is present in limestone; Quartz occurs in stones or granite.

Rocks forms by a natural process, are inorganic, but some can be organic. These contain no specific atomic structure. The size of rocks is often large but smaller than the mounts. Slate is a rock composed of clay. The clay is made up of tiny particles. The minerals inside a slate can be quartz, apatite, biotite and many more. Slate has a uniform color, but it is not a mineral.

Rocks pass from the rock cycle in which one rock transforms into another one. Rocks provide shelter for organisms, mostly animals. Some rocks such as granite and marble find their use in construction industries.

Classification

  • Igneous Rocks: when flowing lava cools, igneous rocks forms. It has two main classes, plutonic and volcanic rocks. These are the oldest rocks on earth.
  • Sedimentary Rocks: when rocks precipitate by organic remains or evaporites, sedimentary rocks forms. Sedimentary rocks are made up of particles called sediments. Sediments can be of minerals or fossils.
  • Metamorphic Rocks: These rocks form when a rock type passes through different temperatures and pressure that was different for parent rock. This process is called metamorphism.

What are Minerals?

A substance formed naturally in earth’s crust by many geological processes is known as a mineral. Minerals have a specific chemical composition and have a crystal- definite shape. The arrangement of atoms gives mineral a unique feature. Minerals are important for their shape, structure, luster, hardness, and its inorganic nature. Diamond is known as the hardest substance on earth. Its hardness is due to the compact arrangement of atoms.

The color of minerals is usually the same. They are small and embedded in different rocks. We access minerals from earth by mining. Minerals stand alone do not possess any fossils or organic remains.

Minerals have different classes depending upon its composition such as silicates, carbonates, phosphates, etc. the most common mineral found on earth is quartz that makes more than 50% of earth’s crust. Minerals are not found in excess but present in some areas of the world. Mostly rocks are the source of minerals. Some minerals are biologically important for human body.

Examples

  • Calcium is beneficial for teeth and bone formation.
  • Phosphorus is important for bone resorption.
  • Iron boosts the immune system.
  • Zinc maintains metabolism.
  • Sodium balances cell fluids.
  • Sulfur is a significant part of some vitamins.

Key Differences

  1. Rocks are an amalgam of different minerals with impurities, whereas mineral is a chemical substance.
  2. Rocks do not have the same atomic structure while minerals have definite chemical composition.
  3. Rocks have distorted shape; conversely, minerals have a specific crystalline shape.
  4. Rocks can be organic, while minerals are organic.
  5. Rocks are often larger on the flip side minerals are smaller.
  6. Rocks provide shelter; on the other hand, minerals are necessary for human health.
  7. Rocks have no nutrition while some minerals are nutritionally important for the human body.
  8. Rock’s study is petrology, whereas the scientific study of minerals is called mineralogy.
  9. Some rocks contain fossils on the flip side; minerals do not embed fossils.
  10. Rock’s examples are granite and claystone, while sodium and potassium are examples of minerals.

Conclusion

Rocks and minerals are present in the earth, but rocks are a combination of minerals, ores, and organic remains whereas mineral is a chemical element which has specific shape and texture.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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