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Rocks & Minerals Study Guide 

Study the information below to prepare for the test!   


Understand that to identify an unknown mineral, we look at its properties. 
The properties and how to test each property are found in the chart 
below! 
Property  Definition  How to Test it 

color  The color of the mineral  Look at the mineral’s 


color 

  The color of the mineral in  Rub the mineral 


streak  powder form  against a hard surface 
so you see a streak of 
powder 

luster  How a mineral shines  Hold it up to the light 

texture  How the mineral feels  Feel it 

  How a mineral reacts to acid.   Put a drop of acid on 


Acid reaction  Reaction: bubbles   it. 
No Reaction: nothing happens 

  When a mineral breaks into  Break it with a 


cleavage  flat or cubed surfaces  hammer to see how it 
breaks.  

  A mineral’s ability to resist  Scratch it with other 


hardness  scratching  minerals and by using 
Mohs scale. 
 
Know the difference between rocks and minerals.  
Rocks​ are made out of minerals. 
Minerals​ are not made out of 
rocks! 
 
Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness 
is a scale that is used to identify 
the hardness of minerals. 
Minerals with a higher number 
can scratch minerals with a 
lower number! 
 
 
 
Important vocabulary to know: 
Geologist​ - a scientist that studies rocks 
Rock​ - a nonliving substance made of minerals 
Mineral​ - a solid, non living substance found in nature 
Gemstone​ - a mineral that is rare, beautiful, and hard to scratch 
Magma​ - melted rock UNDER the earth 
Lava​ - melted rock ABOVE the earth 
Sediments​ - tiny bits of weathered rock and minerals  
Weathering​ ​- the wearing down of rocks into smaller pieces 
Compaction​ ​- when sediments are pressed together.  
Intrusive​ - magma has cooled inside the earth 
Extrusive​ - lava that has cooled outside the earth 
 
Study the three different types of rocks, how they are made and 
their characteristics! 
 
Type of Rock  How it was made  Characteristics 

  Magma or lava that 


has cooled.  
Large crystals 
No layers 
Igneous  Intrusive or extrusive  Glass-like 
  Air pockets 
  Was made near a 
volcano 

  Sediments get 
deposited to the 
Layers, grains, fossils 
 
  bottom of the ocean  Particles that have 
and get compacted  been cemented 
  together. After many  together. 
Sedimentary  years, the layers   
become cemented  They typically DO NOT 
  together.  have crystals 
 
Was made under the 
water 

  Heat and pressure It 


used to be another 
Hard 
Crystals that are 
  Rock that changed due  aligned. In other 
to the heat and  words, it has crystals 
Metamorphic  pressure.  AND layers 
   
Was made from heat 
and pressure 
 
 
 
Study the process of the Rock Cycle! 

Study what causes weathering, erosion, and deposition! 


 
 
Weathering​ - wind, rain, 
or freezing weather break 
apart rocks. 
 
Erosion ​- The moving of 
broken material known as 
sediments 
 
Deposition​ - the material 
known as sediments 
dropped in a new spot.