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Geology: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Identify Almost Any Rock with This Table
Identify 43 of the most common rock types: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.
See the Densities of the Most Common Rock Types
Density, or specific gravity, of common rock types.
What Is Chemical Weathering?
A short explanation of chemical weathering.
Use This Master Index of Rock Pictures
My master alphabetical guide to igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock pictures.
Why the Earth's Crust Is So Important
The Earth's crust is exceptionally important, and not just because we live on it.
What to Know About Sedimentary Rocks
Introducing sedimentary rocks, second of the three great rock classes (along with igneous and metamorphic rocks).
What Makes Metamorphic Rocks Special
Most of the thousands of rare minerals known to science occur in metamorphic rocks, which are formed by great heat and pressure. Introducing
What to Know About Igneous Rocks
Introducing igneous rocks, first of the three great rock classes (along with sedimentary and metamorphic rocks).
6 Things to Know About the Earth's Mantle
A six-part look at the basics of the Earth's mantle, the part between the crust and the core.
The Most Common Green Minerals in Nature
A guide to the most common and significant green and greenish minerals.
Metamorphic Rock Types
The major metamorphic rock types, from regional, contact and mechanical metamorphism.
Identify Typical Minerals with This Master...
My master guide to annotated pictures to help you identify minerals: typical examples of rock-forming, accessory, and rare or notable minerals.
Schist
Schist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 15.
10 Steps to Help You Identify Any Mineral
Mineral identification starts with picking a good specimen.
Gneiss
Gneiss is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 6.
Slate
Slate is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 17.
Serpentinite
Serpentinite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 16.
Fault Types in a Nutshell
The three basic types of fault, with their nomenclature, in a nutshell.
Siltstone
Siltstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 24.
Quartzite
Quartzite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 14.
Why Granite is the Signature Rock of Earth
Granite is the signature rock of the continents. Here are the basics of this important stone.
Gabbro
Gabbro is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 7.
Coquina
Coquina is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 11.
What a Black Mineral Is Most Likely to Be
A guide to the most common and significant black minerals.
Index Fossils: The Key to Telling Deep Time
The concept of index fossils is the very basis of geologic dating.
What Is My Blue or Purple Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant blue and purple minerals.
What Is the Most Common Mineral on Earth?
This question has several answers, depending on what a mineral is and what part of the Earth we're talking about.
Phyllite
Phyllite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 13.
Viewing Earth from on High
Satellite views of Earth's surface make possible geological discoveries never before imagined.
Pegmatite
Pegmatite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 14.
Diorite
Diorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 4.
Igneous Rock Types
The major igneous rock types, plutonic, intrusive and extrusive.
Peridotite
Peridotite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 15.
Obsidian
Obsidian is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 13.
Granite
Granite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 8.
Pumice
Pumice is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 18.
How to Tell the Feldspar Minerals Apart
Feldspar is the commonest mineral in the Earth's crust, but identifying it can be tricky.
How to Look at a Rock Like a Geologist
Notes on the most basic operation in geology.
Where to Look for Rocks and Minerals
Rocks and minerals can be found everywhere, but there is a learning process involved.
Exfoliation
How big rock domes peel off in shells. Page 6.
Scoria
Scoria is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 22.
Sandstone: What It Is and What It Tells Us
Sandstone is sand cemented together into rock.
Felsite
Felsite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 6.
Basalt
Basalt is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 3.
Porphyry
Porphyry is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 17.
Sedimentary Rock Types
The major types of sedimentary rocks.
Marble
Marble is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 10.
Granodiorite
Granodiorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 9.
Pyroxenite
Pyroxenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 19.
Fast Links for Real-Time Info on Current...
Directions to information and data from earthquakes as fast as possible.
More Than 50 Different Landforms in Pictures
Find and see geological landforms at About.com Geology.
Tonalite
Tonalite is a felsic plutonic rock without alkali feldspar. Page 24.
Rhyolite
Rhyolite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 21.
Perlite
Perlite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 16.
Syenite
Syenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 23.
Quartz Monzonite
Quartz monzonite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 20.
Shale
Shale is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 23.
Dunite
Dunite is a plutonic rock consisting of olivine. Page 5.
Komatiite
Komatiite is a rare and ancient ultramafic lava. Page 11.
Sandstone
Sandstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 22.
Troctolite
Troctolite is one of the gabbroid rocks: igneous, plutonic and mafic. Page 25.
Greenstone
Grenstone is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 8.
Quartz: How to Tell It, Different Kinds, What...
Quartz is essential to the land as we know it.
Andesite
Andesite is one of the major igneous rock types.
Migmatite
Migmatite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 11.
Greenschist
Greenschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 7.
Florida Geologic Map
Geologic map of Florida, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 9.
Where Are the Greatest Earthquake Threats in...
The United Nations' global map of seismic hazard
Latite
Latite is the extrusive equivalent of monzonite. Page 12.
Kimberlite
Kimberlite is the peculiar deep-seated ultramafic rock most famous as the ore of diamonds. Page 10.
Mineral Pictures A to Z
A-to-Z list of minerals shown on About.com Geology.
Geologic Maps of the 50 United States
Geologic maps of all 50 U.S. states.
What Is My Red or Pink Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant red and pink minerals.
Mechanical Weathering
A short explanation of mechanical weathering.
Tuff
Tuff is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 26.
Soapstone
Soapstone is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 18.
How to Use the Mohs Hardness Scale to Identify...
The 10-mineral Mohs scale of relative hardness is based on what scratches what.
Anorthosite
Anorthosite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 2.
Limestone
Limestone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 17.
Graywacke or Wacke
Wacke or graywacke is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 15.
Texas Geologic Map
Geologic map of Texas, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 43.
Chert
Chert is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 7.
Georgia Geologic Map
Geologic map of Georgia, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 10.
Mylonite
Mylonite is a major metamorphic rock type from mechanical metamorphism. Page 12.
Blueschist
Blueschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 3.
Arkose
Arkose is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 2.
California Geologic Map
Geologic map of California, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 5.
Eclogite
Eclogite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 5.
Rock Gypsum
Rock gypsum is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 20.
Conglomerate
Conglomerate is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 10.
Hornfels
Hornfels is a major metamorphic rock type from contact metamorphism. Page 9.
Minerals with Metallic Luster
Minerals with metallic luster are easy to learn to identify.
Travertine
Travertine is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 25.
The Size Divisions of Sediment Particles
The grain sizes of sediments and sedimentary rocks are a matter of great interest to geologists. Here is a guide to sediment grades and grain sizes.
Claystone
Claystone is a type of sedimentary rock. Page 8.
North Carolina Geologic Map
Geologic map of North Carolina, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 33.
About Subduction in Plate Tectonics
Basics of plate tectonics: introduction to subduction.
Dolomite Rock or Dolostone
Dolomite or dolostone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 14.
The Scientific Definition of a Mineral
Minerals meet four criteria, more or less strict.
Coal
Coal is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 9.
Peat
Peat is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 18.
Plutonic Rocks
Plutonic rocks defined and explained.
Breccia
Breccia is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 6.
Diatomite
Picture and notes about the sedimentary rock diatomite. Page 13.
Ironstone
Several types of sedimentary rocks are called ironstone. Page 16.
The Lithosphere in a Nutshell
What you need to know about the lithosphere.
Fossil Picture Gallery
Pictures of fossils, part of the About.com Geology gallery of images.
Amphibolite
Amphibolite is one of the major metamorphic rock types.
Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates
Table listing the lithosphere's tectonic plates by oder of size.
About Transforms - Plate Tectonic Transform...
Basics of plate tectonics: what happens when plates move past each other.
What Is My Yellow Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant yellow minerals.
Argillite
A lightly metamorphosed claystone also called pipestone. Page 2.
Translate Names Between Gemstones and Minerals
Big list of mineral names and their corresponding gemstone names.
Rock Salt
Rock salt is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 21.
Colorado Geologic Map
Geologic map of Colorado, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 6.
About Convergent Zones in Plate Tectonics
Basics of plate tectonics: convergent zones are where plates come together.
Quartz
Quartz is classified as a rock-forming mineral. Page 9.
Diamictite
Diamictite is a messy rock that is not quite conglomerate. Page 12.
Cataclasite
Cataclasite is a major metamorphic rock type from mechanical metamorphism. Page 4.
Erosion: Introduction to This Central Concept...
A short explanation of erosion. Geology.
North Dakota Geologic Map
Geologic map of North Dakota, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 34.
What Counts as a Rock to a Geologist?
Everyone knows what a rock is, until you ask what it is exactly.
Rock Cycle Diagram
The rock cycle as I see it. Geology.
Porcellanite
Porcellanite is a subtle sedimentary rock type. Page 19.
Frost Heave
Freezing ground ice lifts and shifts sediment. Page 7.
Talus or Scree
Talus is loose rock lying on a mountain slope. Page 12.
Utah Geologic Map
Geologic map of Utah, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 44.
Banded Iron Formation
Banded iron formation or BIF is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 4.
Measuring Plate Motion
The five ways we track the motion of the lithospheric plates.
Plate Tectonics Explains How the Earth's...
Start here to learn the basics of plate tectonics.
Sinkhole, Oman
Sinkholes are a widespread erosional landform type. Page 23.
Michigan Geologic Map
Geologic map of Michigan, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 22.
Bauxite
Bauxite is an uncommon but economically important sedimentary rock. Page 5.
The Rise and Fall of Land Bridges
Giant causeways that link distant continents were handy ways around continental drift, but now they're mostly out of favor--mostly.
Earthquakes - The Basics in a Nutshell
Start here for the seismic basics: faults that cause earthquakes, types of seismic waves, damages they cause and more.
Cirque, California
Cirques are mountaiside bowls carved by glacial erosion. Page 7.
Is This Your Hat?
During my 2006 trip through the Sierra Nevada (at Stop 12 of the Subduction Tour, to be precise), I came upon a floppy water-resistant field hat lying on a
Olivine
Olivine is an important rock-forming mineral. Page 7.
1 April 2014 Chile Earthquake Completes the Set
Yesterday's magnitude 8.2 earthquake off the coast of northern Chile was significant to scientists because it was widely anticipated and because it filled the
Natural Asphalt
Natural asphalt is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 3.
Ohio Tightens Fracking Regulations
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Hydraulic fracturing
Sea Arch, California
Sea arches are a type of erosional landform. Page 22.
Pennsylvania Geologic Map
Geologic map of Pennsylvania, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 38.
Huge Trove of Science Released to the Public
The American Geophysical Union is the world's largest publisher of Earth science research--and space science too. As an AGU member of long standing, I've
Steno Started Geology with a Few Simple...
Steno (Niels Stensen) first set forth some of the basic principles that all geologists follow.
The Rock-Forming Minerals
A handful of very abundant minerals account for the great majority of the Earth's rocks.
What You Should Know About the San Andreas Fault
Home page for everything about the San Andreas fault: where it is, how it behaves, what it means.
Hawaii Geologic Map
Geologic map of Hawaii, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 11.
Epidote
Epidote is one of the silicate minerals. Page 10.

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