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Difference between Rocks and Minerals

Minerals and rocks are found everywhere on the planet. They are the very base of earth. There are many mines that extract many minerals from rocks. The end result of this extraction is ores, which are the mined rocks. It is interesting to note that rocks are made up of minerals. Rocks such as magnetite, quartz, epidote, etc., are made up of minerals. Now, there are several differences between rocks and minerals. Diamonds, ruby, sapphires, etc., are gemstones. These gemstones are nothing but a piece of rock that has been carved into a piece of beautiful jewelry. Like these, there are several contrasting points between them. But before that, let us understand the fundamental meaning of these terms.

Difference between Rocks and Minerals


Rock is defined as a mass that comprises of geographical elements and materials. There are several kinds of rocks like sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, etc. Metamorphic rocks are formed which excessive heat and pressure, while sedimentary rocks are formed when the pieces of other rocks are buried or compressed. All the rocks comprise of several minerals. These rocks are not uniform, and they do not have particular structures. Rocks are basically distinguished on the basis of their formation. The three significant kinds of rocks are metamorphic rocks, sedimentary rocks, and igneous rocks. Rocks are used for various purposes like making roads, houses, buildings, making fertilizers. The properties in rocks upon which they can be differentiated from one another are luster, hardness, color, tenacity, fracture, etc. One can identify the type of rock based on these properties. Many works, be it technology, fashion, construction, etc., are undertaken by these rocks. One of the common features of rocks is that they are of the same color, shape, and minerals.


In geology, a mineral is defined as a chemical compound that is formed naturally. The structures of such minerals are orderly and uniform. Examples of minerals include mica, olivine, calcite, etc. A mineral is crystalline in nature which has been formed through geological processes. There are seven significant kinds of minerals. They are:

  • Silicates
  • Carbonates
  • Sulfides
  • Native Elements
  • Oxides
  • Sulfates
  • Halides

Minerals are essential for living organisms. For instance, salt is a mineral that is necessary for humans for health purposes. Painite is a rare mineral. It was first founded in the year 1951 by Arthur Charles. Afterward, only two specimens have been found so far. The major uses of minerals are constructing roads, buildings, cleaning, etc. Now, let us look at the significant contrasting points between rocks and minerals.

1. Rocks are defined as the solid mass of which is made up of geographical materials. On the other hand, minerals are defined as the inorganic chemical compounds that are formed naturally.
2. Rocks are made of minerals. Minerals are not made of rocks.
3. Rocks are not uniform in their texture. Minerals are uniform in their texture.
4. Rocks like jadeite, red beryl, black opal, musgravite, etc., are some of the rare rocks. Painite is a rare mineral.
5. Rocks are microscopic, i.e., tiny in nature. Minerals are not microscopic and can be easily distinguished.
6. Rocks are present on the earth in a solid form. Minerals are present on earth as mineral deposits.
7. Rocks have an atomic structure. Minerals have a crystalline and chemical structure.
8. Rocks are used for construction purposes like building roads, buildings, etc. Minerals are used for various purposes like technology, fashion, construction, etc.
9. The fundamental properties of rocks are:
  • Rocks
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Luster
  • Pattern
  • Texture
The fundamental properties of minerals are:
  • Color
  • Crystal
  • Hardness
  • Fracture
  • Tenacity
  • Gravity
10. Rocks do not have a definite shape or color. Minerals have a definite color and shape.
11. Examples:
  • Sand
  • Pebbles
  • Fragments
  • Shells
  • Fossil Fuel
  • Coal
  • Petroleum

So, these are the contrasting points between rocks and minerals. Both rocks and minerals are the fundamental things present on earth. Both are naturally formed. The basic difference between them is of the structure, i.e., rocks have atomic structure, while minerals have a chemical and crystalline structure. Now, let us look at the common characteristics and uses of rocks and minerals.

Common Features of Rocks & Minerals

  1. Minerals and rocks are majorly found in the Earth's crust (the outer layer).
  2. Both rocks and minerals have high commercial value.
  3. Rocks are made up of minerals.
  4. Minerals and rocks are used in manufacturing industries.
  5. Rocks and minerals are present in raw form.
  6. They are used as raw materials for industrial purposes.

Uses of Rocks & Minerals

In this section, we will talk about the combined uses of rocks and minerals like aluminum, ores, halite, etc.

  1. Aluminum is used in creating containers and appliances.
  2. Chromite is used in making chromed parts of automobiles.
  3. Ores are used in utensils, wiring, coins, etc.
  4. Halite/ Salt is used in cook and for the preservation of food.
  5. Limestone is used for constructing houses, buildings, bridges, etc.
  6. Fluoride is used for producing hydrofluoric acid. This acid is present in toothpaste.
  7. Lead is used in batteries.

So, these are some of the uses of rocks and minerals. Both rocks and minerals emerge from the earth and are present in raw form. It is essential to note that both are used for various purposes. Thus, rocks and minerals are primary elements found on earth.

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