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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.
Use This Master Index of Rock Pictures
My master alphabetical guide to igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock pictures.
See the Densities of the Most Common Rock Types
Density, or specific gravity, of common rock types.
The Most Common Green Minerals in Nature
A guide to the most common and significant green and greenish minerals.
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.
10 Steps to Help You Identify Any Mineral
Mineral identification starts with picking a good specimen.
What a Black Mineral Is Most Likely to Be
A guide to the most common and significant black minerals.
What Is My Blue or Purple Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant blue and purple minerals.
What to Know About Igneous Rocks
Introducing igneous rocks, first of the three great rock classes (along with sedimentary and metamorphic rocks).
Why the Earth's Crust Is So Important
The Earth's crust is exceptionally important, and not just because we live on it.
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
Where to Look for Rocks and Minerals
Rocks and minerals can be found everywhere, but there is a learning process involved.
What to Know About Sedimentary Rocks
Introducing sedimentary rocks, second of the three great rock classes (along with igneous 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.
More Than 50 Different Landforms in Pictures
Find and see geological landforms at About.com Geology.
How to Tell the Feldspar Minerals Apart
Feldspar is the commonest mineral in the Earth's crust, but identifying it can be tricky.
Quartz: How to Tell It, Different Kinds, What...
Quartz is essential to the land as we know it.
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.
Where Are the Greatest Earthquake Threats in...
The United Nations' global map of seismic hazard
What Is My Red or Pink Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant red and pink minerals.
Exfoliation
How big rock domes peel off in shells. Page 6.
How to Look at a Rock Like a Geologist
Notes on the most basic operation in geology.
Serpentinite
Serpentinite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 16.
Why Granite is the Signature Rock of Earth
Granite is the signature rock of the continents. Here are the basics of this important stone.
Granite
Granite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 8.
Schist
Schist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 15.
Siltstone
Siltstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 24.
Igneous Rock Types
The major igneous rock types, plutonic, intrusive and extrusive.
Pegmatite
Pegmatite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 14.
Peridotite
Peridotite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 15.
Sandstone: What It Is and What It Tells Us
Sandstone is sand cemented together into rock.
Florida Geologic Map
Geologic map of Florida, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 9.
Mineral Pictures A to Z
A-to-Z list of minerals shown on About.com Geology.
Texas Geologic Map
Geologic map of Texas, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 43.
What Is Chemical Weathering?
A short explanation of chemical weathering.
Plate Tectonics Explains How the Earth's...
Start here to learn the basics of plate tectonics.
Viewing Earth from on High
Satellite views of Earth's surface make possible geological discoveries never before imagined.
Obsidian
Obsidian is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 13.
Pyroxenite
Pyroxenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 19.
Georgia Geologic Map
Geologic map of Georgia, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 10.
Gabbro
Gabbro is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 7.
Scoria
Scoria is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 22.
The Scientific Definition of a Mineral
Minerals meet four criteria, more or less strict.
Felsite
Felsite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 6.
Granodiorite
Granodiorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 9.
What Counts as a Rock to a Geologist?
Everyone knows what a rock is, until you ask what it is exactly.
Rhyolite
Rhyolite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 21.
Porphyry
Porphyry is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 17.
Fault Types in a Nutshell
The three basic types of fault, with their nomenclature, in a nutshell.
Basalt
Basalt is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 3.
Quartz Monzonite
Quartz monzonite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 20.
Diorite
Diorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 4.
Slate
Slate is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 17.
Pumice
Pumice is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 18.
Perlite
Perlite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 16.
Syenite
Syenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 23.
Shale
Shale is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 23.
Tonalite
Tonalite is a felsic plutonic rock without alkali feldspar. Page 24.
What Is My Yellow Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant yellow minerals.
Gneiss
Gneiss is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 6.
Dunite
Dunite is a plutonic rock consisting of olivine. Page 5.
Corundum
Corundum is one of the oxide minerals. Page 2.
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.
Tuff
Tuff is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 26.
Holes in Rocks
Geologists have named a variety of holes.
Translate Names Between Gemstones and Minerals
Big list of mineral names and their corresponding gemstone names.
Utah Geologic Map
Geologic map of Utah, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 44.
Sedimentary Rock Types
The major types of sedimentary rocks.
Greenstone
Grenstone is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 8.
Fast Links for Real-Time Info on Current...
Directions to information and data from earthquakes as fast as possible.
Phyllite
Phyllite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 13.
Graywacke or Wacke
Wacke or graywacke is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 15.
Volcanic (Extrusive) Rock Types
Photos of the types of erupted igneous rocks.
Komatiite
Komatiite is a rare and ancient ultramafic lava. Page 11.
How to Use the Mohs Hardness Scale to Identify...
The 10-mineral Mohs scale of relative hardness is based on what scratches what.
Troctolite
Troctolite is one of the gabbroid rocks: igneous, plutonic and mafic. Page 25.
Quartzite
Quartzite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 14.
Travertine
Travertine is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 25.
Andesite
Andesite is one of the major igneous rock types.
Colorado Geologic Map
Geologic map of Colorado, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 6.
Chert
Chert is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 7.
How to Tell Apart the Granitoid Rocks
How geologists sort out granite from the rocks that look like it.
The Lithosphere in a Nutshell
What you need to know about the lithosphere.
The Rock-Forming Minerals
A handful of very abundant minerals account for the great majority of the Earth's rocks.
Metamorphic Rock Types
The major metamorphic rock types, from regional, contact and mechanical metamorphism.
Marble
Marble is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 10.
Limestone
Limestone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 17.
Conglomerate
Conglomerate is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 10.
What Rocks Erode Into: Minerals of the Earth's...
The thousands of minerals known in rocks become a mere handful at the Earth's surface.
Kimberlite
Kimberlite is the peculiar deep-seated ultramafic rock most famous as the ore of diamonds. Page 10.
Ironstone
Several types of sedimentary rocks are called ironstone. Page 16.
Quartz
Quartz is classified as a rock-forming mineral. Page 9.
Sandstone
Sandstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 22.
Latite
Latite is the extrusive equivalent of monzonite. Page 12.
Rock Gypsum
Rock gypsum is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 20.
Anorthosite
Anorthosite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 2.
Arkose
Arkose is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 2.
Soapstone
Soapstone is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 18.
What rock is my granite countertop or tile,...
The granites of geology and commerce are quite different.
Coquina
Coquina is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 11.
Metamorphic Rock Gallery
A spectrum of metamorphic rocks, the pelitic sequence and the basaltic sequence.
Actinolite
Actinolite is a major amphibole mineral. Page 5.
Weathering: Details of This Central Geologic...
A short description of weathering.
Claystone
Claystone is a type of sedimentary rock. Page 8.
Migmatite
Migmatite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 11.
Quartz and Silica Minerals Gallery
Get familiar with quartz.
What to Know Before You Buy a Magnifier
What to think about and look for when you set out to get a nice magnifier.
Greenschist
Greenschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 7.
Louisiana Geologic Map
Geologic map of Louisiana, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 18.
Dolomite Rock or Dolostone
Dolomite or dolostone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 14.
Index Fossils: The Key to Telling Deep Time
The concept of index fossils is the very basis of geologic dating.
Rock Salt
Rock salt is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 21.
Blueschist
Blueschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 3.
Coal
Coal is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 9.
Breccia
Breccia is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 6.
Maine Geologic Map
Geologic map of Maine, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 19.
Learn to Read a Geologic Map
Understanding geologic maps starts with topography.
Mylonite
Mylonite is a major metamorphic rock type from mechanical metamorphism. Page 12.
Augite
Augite is one of the pyroxene minerals. Page 2.
Identification Key for the Rock-Forming Minerals
Quick identification table for the minerals that form the majority of rocks.
Hornfels
Hornfels is a major metamorphic rock type from contact metamorphism. Page 9.
Hawaii Geologic Map
Geologic map of Hawaii, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 11.
Geologic Maps of the 50 United States
Geologic maps of all 50 U.S. states.
California Geologic Map
Geologic map of California, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 5.
Peat
Peat is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 18.
Diamictite
Diamictite is a messy rock that is not quite conglomerate. Page 12.
Rock Cycle Diagram
The rock cycle as I see it. Geology.
State Gemstones of the United States
The 27 official gemstones of 35 states.
Geology, Earth Science: What's the Difference?
Is there a difference between Earth science and geology?
Agate
Agate is a rock made of chalcedony or cryptocrystalline quartz. Page 14.
Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates
Table listing the lithosphere's tectonic plates by oder of size.
What You Should Know about the Earth's Core
The whole Earth on average consists of the same mixture of stuff we see elsewhere in the solar system, but the core has to be iron metal along with some nickel.
Diatomite
Picture and notes about the sedimentary rock diatomite. Page 13.
Porcellanite
Porcellanite is a subtle sedimentary rock type. Page 19.
Plutonic Rocks
Plutonic rocks defined and explained.
The Rise of Erosion
This old standby of the old geology is back on today's scientific cutting edge.
Mineral Habits
The various forms that minerals take in rocks.
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.
Fossil Picture Gallery
Pictures of fossils, part of the About.com Geology gallery of images.
Apatite
Apatite is the principal phosphate mineral.
Measuring Plate Motion
The five ways we track the motion of the lithospheric plates.
Frost Heave
Freezing ground ice lifts and shifts sediment. Page 7.
Actinolite, Northern California
Actinolite in the gallery of amphibole minerals. Page 6.
Connecticut Geologic Map
Geologic map of Connecticut, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 7.
Minerals with Metallic Luster
Minerals with metallic luster are easy to learn to identify.
North Carolina Geologic Map
Geologic map of North Carolina, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 33.
Delta, Alaska
Deltas are a type of depositional landform. Page 6.
The Official State Gemstones, In One List
Thirty-five states have official gemstones. Here they are, listed by state.
Epidote
Epidote is one of the silicate minerals. Page 10.
Pyroxene (Augite)
Pyroxene is a rock-forming mineral. Page 8.
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