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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.
10 Steps to Help You Identify Any Mineral
Mineral identification starts with picking a good specimen.
Where Are the Greatest Earthquake Threats in...
The United Nations' global map of seismic hazard
Use This Master Index of Rock Pictures
My master alphabetical guide to igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock pictures.
The Most Common Green Minerals in Nature
A guide to the most common and significant green and greenish minerals.
What Is My Blue or Purple Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant blue and purple minerals.
See the Densities of the Most Common Rock Types
Density, or specific gravity, of common rock types.
Viewing Earth from on High
Satellite views of Earth's surface make possible geological discoveries never before imagined.
What a Black Mineral Is Most Likely to Be
A guide to the most common and significant black 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.
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 Igneous Rocks
Introducing igneous rocks, first of the three great rock classes (along with sedimentary and metamorphic rocks).
Where to Look for Rocks and Minerals
Rocks and minerals can be found everywhere, but there is a learning process involved.
How to Look at a Rock Like a Geologist
Notes on the most basic operation in geology.
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
Florida Geologic Map
Geologic map of Florida, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 9.
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.
Georgia Geologic Map
Geologic map of Georgia, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 10.
Serpentinite
Serpentinite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 16.
What to Know About Sedimentary Rocks
Introducing sedimentary rocks, second of the three great rock classes (along with igneous and metamorphic rocks).
Peridotite
Peridotite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 15.
Quartz: How to Tell It, Different Kinds, What...
Quartz is essential to the land as we know it.
Igneous Rock Types
The major igneous rock types, plutonic, intrusive and extrusive.
What Is My Red or Pink Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant red and pink minerals.
Learn to Read a Geologic Map
Understanding geologic maps starts with topography.
Top 10 Action Steps to Take Against Earthquakes
Earthquake professionals list the elements of a quake-resistant society.
Schist
Schist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 15.
Diorite
Diorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 4.
Obsidian
Obsidian is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 13.
Fast Links for Real-Time Info on Current...
Directions to information and data from earthquakes as fast as possible.
Pegmatite
Pegmatite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 14.
Rhyolite
Rhyolite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 21.
Geologic Maps of the 50 United States
Geologic maps of all 50 U.S. states.
Granite
Granite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 8.
Why Granite is the Signature Rock of Earth
Granite is the signature rock of the continents. Here are the basics of this important stone.
Removing Iron Oxide Stains from Rocks Safely...
Rusty gneiss specimens before cleaning with oxalic acid.
Quartz Monzonite
Quartz monzonite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 20.
Gabbro
Gabbro is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 7.
Basalt
Basalt is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 3.
Metamorphic Rock Types
The major metamorphic rock types, from regional, contact and mechanical metamorphism.
Perlite
Perlite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 16.
Scoria
Scoria is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 22.
Pyroxenite
Pyroxenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 19.
Slate
Slate is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 17.
Quartzite
Quartzite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 14.
Granodiorite
Granodiorite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 9.
How to Tell the Feldspar Minerals Apart
Feldspar is the commonest mineral in the Earth's crust, but identifying it can be tricky.
Pumice
Pumice is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 18.
Porphyry
Porphyry is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 17.
Felsite
Felsite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 6.
Gneiss
Gneiss is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 6.
Tonalite
Tonalite is a felsic plutonic rock without alkali feldspar. Page 24.
Sedimentary Rock Types
The major types of sedimentary rocks.
Tuff
Tuff is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 26.
Syenite
Syenite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 23.
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.
Siltstone
Siltstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 24.
Andesite
Andesite is one of the major igneous rock types.
Phyllite
Phyllite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 13.
Komatiite
Komatiite is a rare and ancient ultramafic lava. Page 11.
Texas Geologic Map
Geologic map of Texas, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 43.
Dunite
Dunite is a plutonic rock consisting of olivine. Page 5.
Troctolite
Troctolite is one of the gabbroid rocks: igneous, plutonic and mafic. Page 25.
Volcanic (Extrusive) Rock Types
Photos of the types of erupted igneous 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.
Michigan Geologic Map
Geologic map of Michigan, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 22.
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.
Latite
Latite is the extrusive equivalent of monzonite. Page 12.
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.
Anorthosite
Anorthosite is one of the major igneous rock types. Page 2.
Soapstone
Soapstone is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 18.
Colorado Geologic Map
Geologic map of Colorado, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 6.
Shale
Shale is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 23.
What Is My Yellow Mineral?
A guide to the most common and significant yellow minerals.
Migmatite
Migmatite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 11.
The Rock-Forming Minerals
A handful of very abundant minerals account for the great majority of the Earth's rocks.
Limestone
Limestone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 17.
Marble
Marble is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 10.
Sandstone
Sandstone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 22.
Utah Geologic Map
Geologic map of Utah, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 44.
Fault Types in a Nutshell
The three basic types of fault, with their nomenclature, in a nutshell.
Washington Geologic Map
Geologic map of Washington, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 47.
Graywacke or Wacke
Wacke or graywacke is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 15.
Weathering: Details of This Central Geologic...
A short description of weathering.
Travertine
Travertine is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 25.
Quartz
Quartz is classified as a rock-forming mineral. Page 9.
Chert
Chert is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 7.
Exfoliation
How big rock domes peel off in shells. Page 6.
What Counts as a Rock to a Geologist?
Everyone knows what a rock is, until you ask what it is exactly.
North Carolina Geologic Map
Geologic map of North Carolina, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 33.
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.
What rock is my granite countertop or tile,...
The granites of geology and commerce are quite different.
Hawaii Geologic Map
Geologic map of Hawaii, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 11.
Fossil Parks for Hands-On Digging
Public parks in the United States where you can collect fossils legally.
Index Fossils: The Key to Telling Deep Time
The concept of index fossils is the very basis of geologic dating.
Hornfels
Hornfels is a major metamorphic rock type from contact metamorphism. Page 9.
Greenschist
Greenschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 7.
Brown Minerals
A guide to the most common and significant brown minerals.
Quartz and Silica Minerals Gallery
Get familiar with quartz.
Coquina
Coquina is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 11.
California Geologic Map
Geologic map of California, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 5.
A Visit to Sharktooth Hill
I spent a day on Sharktooth Hill, famous for specimens of the shark C. megalodon.
Metamorphic Rock Gallery
A spectrum of metamorphic rocks, the pelitic sequence and the basaltic sequence.
Holes in Rocks
Geologists have named a variety of holes.
How to Use the Mohs Hardness Scale to Identify...
The 10-mineral Mohs scale of relative hardness is based on what scratches what.
Claystone
Claystone is a type of sedimentary rock. Page 8.
Epidote
Epidote is one of the silicate minerals. Page 10.
Mylonite
Mylonite is a major metamorphic rock type from mechanical metamorphism. Page 12.
Actinolite
Actinolite is a major amphibole mineral. Page 5.
Blueschist
Blueschist is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 3.
Ironstone
Several types of sedimentary rocks are called ironstone. Page 16.
Translate Names Between Gemstones and Minerals
Big list of mineral names and their corresponding gemstone names.
Rock Gypsum
Rock gypsum is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 20.
Diamictite
Diamictite is a messy rock that is not quite conglomerate. Page 12.
Dolomite Rock or Dolostone
Dolomite or dolostone is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 14.
Conglomerate
Conglomerate is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 10.
Map of Plates and Their Boundaries
Details of the world's major tectonic plates and their boundaries.
Minnesota Geologic Map
Geologic map of Minnesota, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 23.
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.
Arkose
Arkose is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 2.
Argillite
A lightly metamorphosed claystone also called pipestone. Page 2.
Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates
Table listing the lithosphere's tectonic plates by oder of size.
Peat
Peat is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 18.
Calderas - World's Largest Calderas
Table of the world's largest known calderas: chinati mountains kari kari supervolcanoes awasa taupo new zealand
Rock Salt
Rock salt is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 21.
Amphibolite
Amphibolite is one of the major metamorphic rock types.
West Virginia Geologic Map
Geologic map of West Virginia, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 48.
Wisconsin Geologic Map
Geologic map of Wisconsin, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 49.
Minerals with Metallic Luster
Minerals with metallic luster are easy to learn to identify.
Eclogite
Eclogite is a major metamorphic rock type from regional metamorphism. Page 5.
Apatite
Apatite is the principal phosphate mineral.
About Convergent Zones in Plate Tectonics
Basics of plate tectonics: convergent zones are where plates come together.
More Than 50 Different Landforms in Pictures
Find and see geological landforms at About.com Geology.
The Rise of Erosion
This old standby of the old geology is back on today's scientific cutting edge.
New York Geologic Map
Geologic map of New York, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 32.
Amethyst
Amethyst specimen showing typical shapes of quartz crystals. Page 8.
Natural Asphalt
Natural asphalt is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 3.
Banded Iron Formation
Banded iron formation or BIF is one of the major types of sedimentary rocks. Page 4.
What Is Chemical Weathering?
A short explanation of chemical weathering.
Fossil Picture Gallery
Pictures of fossils, part of the About.com Geology gallery of images.
What to Know Before You Buy a Magnifier
What to think about and look for when you set out to get a nice magnifier.
Plate Tectonics Explains How the Earth's...
Start here to learn the basics of plate tectonics.
Maine Geologic Map
Geologic map of Maine, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 19.
A Brief History of Precambrian Time
Four billion years condensed into two pages.
Oregon Geologic Map
Geologic map of Oregon, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 37.
Augite
Augite is one of the pyroxene minerals. Page 2.
Missouri Geologic Map
Geologic map of Missouri, part of a set of all 50 states. Page 25.
Olivine
Olivine is one of the silicate minerals. Page 20.
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