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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 to Know About Sedimentary Rocks
Introducing sedimentary rocks, second of the three great rock classes (along with igneous 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.
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.
Use This Master Index of Rock Pictures
My master alphabetical guide to igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock pictures.
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.
What to Know About Igneous Rocks
Introducing igneous rocks, first of the three great rock classes (along with sedimentary and metamorphic rocks).
What Is Chemical Weathering?
A short explanation of chemical weathering.
The Most Common Green Minerals in Nature
A guide to the most common and significant green and greenish minerals.
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
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.
Florida Geologic Map
Geologic map of Florida, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 9.
10 Steps to Help You Identify Any Mineral
Mineral identification starts with picking a good specimen.
What Is My Blue or Purple Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant blue and purple minerals.
Diorite
Diorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 4.
Schist
Schist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 15.
Gabbro
Gabbro is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 7.
Georgia Geologic Map
Geologic map of Georgia, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 10.
Igneous Rock Types
The major igneous rock types, plutonic, intrusive and extrusive.
Gneiss
Gneiss is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 6.
Granite
Granite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 8.
Serpentinite
Serpentinite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 16.
Where to Look for Rocks and Minerals
Rocks and minerals can be found everywhere, but there is a learning process involved.
Scoria
Scoria is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 22.
What a Black Mineral Is Most Likely to Be
A guide to the most common and significant black minerals.
Slate
Slate is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 17.
Pegmatite
Pegmatite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 14.
Basalt
Basalt is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 3.
Pumice
Pumice is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 18.
Quartzite
Quartzite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 14.
Rhyolite
Rhyolite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 21.
Why Granite is the Signature Rock of Earth
Granite is the signature rock of the continents. Here are the basics of this important stone.
How to Tell the Feldspar Minerals Apart
Feldspar is the commonest mineral in the Earth's crust, but identifying it can be tricky.
Metamorphic Rock Types
The major metamorphic rock types, from regional, contact and mechanical metamorphism.
Peridotite
Peridotite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 15.
Felsite
Felsite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 6.
Obsidian
Obsidian is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 13.
Granodiorite
Granodiorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 9.
Sedimentary Rock Types
The major types of sedimentary rocks.
Syenite
Syenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 23.
How to Look at a Rock Like a Geologist
Notes on the most basic operation in geology.
Pyroxenite
Pyroxenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 19.
Dunite
Dunite is a plutonic rock consisting of olivine. Page 5.
Porphyry
Porphyry is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 17.
Tonalite
Tonalite is a felsic plutonic rock without alkali feldspar. Page 24.
Phyllite
Phyllite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 13.
Siltstone
Siltstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 24.
Quartz Monzonite
Quartz monzonite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 20.
Anorthosite
Anorthosite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 2.
More Than 50 Different Landforms in Pictures
Find and see geological landforms at About.com Geology.
Andesite
Andesite is one of the major igneous rock types.
Perlite
Perlite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 16.
Exfoliation
How big rock domes peel off in shells. Page 6.
Komatiite
Komatiite is a rare and ancient ultramafic lava. Page 11.
Troctolite
Troctolite is one of the gabbroid rocks: igneous, plutonic and mafic. Page 25.
Marble
Marble is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 10.
Quartz: How to Tell It, Different Kinds, What...
Quartz is essential to the land as we know it.
What Counts as a Rock to a Geologist?
Everyone knows what a rock is, until you ask what it is exactly.
What Is My Red or Pink Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant red and pink minerals.
Fault Types in a Nutshell
The three basic types of fault, with their nomenclature, in a nutshell.
Greenstone
Grenstone is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 8.
Sandstone: What It Is and What It Tells Us
Sandstone is sand cemented together into rock.
Index Fossils: The Key to Telling Deep Time
The concept of index fossils is the very basis of geologic dating.
Kimberlite
Kimberlite is the peculiar deep-seated ultramafic rock most famous as the ore of diamonds. Page 10.
Shale
Shale is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 23.
North Carolina Geologic Map
Geologic map of North Carolina, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 33.
Latite
Latite is the extrusive equivalent of monzonite. Page 12.
Viewing Earth from on High
Satellite views of Earth's surface make possible geological discoveries never before imagined.
Minerals with Metallic Luster
Minerals with metallic luster are easy to learn to identify.
Migmatite
Migmatite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 11.
Texas Geologic Map
Geologic map of Texas, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 43.
Tuff
Tuff is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 26.
Fast Links for Real-Time Info on Current...
Directions to information and data from earthquakes as fast as possible.
How to Use the Mohs Hardness Scale to Identify...
The 10-mineral Mohs scale of relative hardness is based on what scratches what.
Sandstone
Sandstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 22.
Where Are the Greatest Earthquake Threats in...
The United Nations' global map of seismic hazard
Mechanical Weathering
A short explanation of mechanical weathering.
Greenschist
Greenschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 7.
Hawaii Geologic Map
Geologic map of Hawaii, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 11.
Fossil Picture Gallery
Pictures of fossils, part of the About.com Geology gallery of images.
Coquina
Coquina is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 11.
Hornfels
Hornfels is a major metamorphic rock type from contact metamorphism. Page 9.
The Scientific Definition of a Mineral
Minerals meet four criteria, more or less strict.
Arkose
Arkose is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. 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.
The Lithosphere in a Nutshell
What you need to know about the lithosphere.
Chert
Chert is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 7.
Limestone
Limestone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 17.
Mylonite
Mylonite is a major metamorphic rock type from mechanical metamorphism. Page 12.
Conglomerate
Conglomerate is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 10.
Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates
Table listing the lithosphere's tectonic plates by oder of size.
Soapstone
Soapstone is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 18.
About Convergent Zones in Plate Tectonics
Basics of plate tectonics: convergent zones are where plates come together.
North Dakota Geologic Map
Geologic map of North Dakota, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 34.
Rock Cycle Diagram
The rock cycle as I see it. Geology.
Graywacke or Wacke
Wacke or graywacke is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 15.
Travertine
Travertine is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 25.
Mineral Pictures A to Z
A-to-Z list of minerals shown on About.com Geology.
About Subduction in Plate Tectonics
Basics of plate tectonics: introduction to subduction.
Measuring Plate Motion
The five ways we track the motion of the lithospheric plates.
Rock Gypsum
Rock gypsum is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 20.
Blueschist
Blueschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 3.
Quartz
Quartz is classified as a rock-forming mineral. Page 9.
Michigan Geologic Map
Geologic map of Michigan, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 22.
Claystone
Claystone is a type of sedimentary rock. Page 8.
Utah Geologic Map
Geologic map of Utah, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 44.
Peat
Peat is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 18.
Coal
Coal is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 9.
Rock Salt
Rock salt is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 21.
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.
Plutonic Rocks
Plutonic rocks defined and explained.
Eclogite
Eclogite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 5.
Dolomite Rock or Dolostone
Dolomite or dolostone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 14.
California Geologic Map
Geologic map of California, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 5.
What Is My Yellow Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant yellow minerals.
Diamictite
Diamictite is a messy rock that is not quite conglomerate. Page 12.
Breccia
Breccia is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 6.
Translate Names Between Gemstones and Minerals
Big list of mineral names and their corresponding gemstone names.
Diatomite
Picture and notes about the sedimentary rock diatomite. Page 13.
Argillite
A lightly metamorphosed claystone also called pipestone. Page 2.
Minnesota Geologic Map
Geologic map of Minnesota, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 23.
Colorado Geologic Map
Geologic map of Colorado, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 6.
Ironstone
Several types of sedimentary rocks are called ironstone. Page 16.
About Transforms - Plate Tectonic Transform...
Basics of plate tectonics: what happens when plates move past each other.
The Bre-X Gold Scandal, History's Biggest...
First there is a mountain of gold, then there is no mountain, then there is no mining company in the gold industry's greatest case of fraud.
Mineral Habits
The various forms that minerals take in rocks.
Volcanic (Extrusive) Rock Types
Photos of the types of erupted igneous rocks.
Natural Asphalt
Natural asphalt is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 3.
Olivine
Olivine is an important rock-forming mineral. Page 7.
Plate Tectonics Explains How the Earth's...
Start here to learn the basics of plate tectonics.
Banded Iron Formation
Banded iron formation or BIF is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 4.
South Carolina Geologic Map
Geologic map of South Carolina, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 40.
Actinolite
Actinolite is a major amphibole mineral. Page 5.
Amphibolite
Amphibolite is one of the major metamorphic rock types.
Map of Plates and Their Boundaries
Details of the world's major tectonic plates and their boundaries.
Silica Tetrahedron Defined and Explained
The silica tetrahedron is the basis of the silicate minerals.
Erosion: Introduction to This Central Concept...
A short explanation of erosion. Geology.
Geologic Maps of the 50 United States
Geologic maps of all 50 U.S. states.
Shark Teeth
Shark teeth, fresh and fossil, from the U.S. east coast. Page 21.
Brown Minerals
A guide to the most common and significant brown minerals.
Arizona Geologic Map
Geologic map of Arizona, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 3.
Frost Heave
Freezing ground ice lifts and shifts sediment. Page 7.
Arkansas Geologic Map
Geologic map of Arkansas, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 4.
Pyroxene (Augite)
Pyroxene is a rock-forming mineral. Page 8.
Cataclasite
Cataclasite is a major metamorphic rock type from mechanical metamorphism. Page 4.
Porcellanite
Porcellanite is a subtle sedimentary rock type. Page 19.
Weathering: Details of This Central Geologic...
A short description of weathering.
Ohio Geologic Map
Geologic map of Ohio, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 35.
The Rock-Forming Minerals
A handful of very abundant minerals account for the great majority of the Earth's rocks.

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