Rock and Mineral Identification Field Guide

Rock and Mineral Identification

Our Rock and Mineral Identification Field Guide can be divided into two parts. The first section contains information on identifying rocks. The last section includes information on the identification of minerals.  There are three major families of rocks found on the surface of the Earth. Each of these families have major characteristics that can be used to identify them.

Igneous Rocks

Igneous Rocks all were at one time magma. Magma is molten rock that forms underground in subduction zones and hot spots. Magma that cools and solidifies underground has interlocking crystals that are visible to the naked eye. Lava rocks form when magma reaches the surface of the Earth usually during a volcanic eruption. All rocks produced by volcanic eruptions are Igneous Rocks.

Sedimentary Rocks

There are three major types of sedimentary rocks. Clastic rocks are created when broken bits and pieces of older rock are "glued" together when minerals crystallize between the grains. Organic rocks are the products of plant and animal life. Coral reefs and coal are examples of organic rocks. Chemical rocks form when minerals in lakes and shallow  seas crystallize on the floors of oceans and lakes. Chemical rocks also form around hot springs. Salt, borax, and travertine are examples of these types of rocks.

Metamorphic Rocks

Metamorphic rocks are produced when crustal plates collide. New metamorphic rocks form when there is enough heat and pressure on older rocks to cause them to recrystallize without melting. Gneiss is an example of a high-grade metamorphic rock where the new crystals migrate into bands.


There are over 3000 named minerals on the surface of our planet. The best way to identify an individual mineral is to use the "keys" that make it unique. Luster, fracture, cleavage, color and special properties of individual minerals are all keys to identifying minerals found in the field.

Chapters in the book:

  • Igneous, Sedimentary or Metamorphic?
  • Igneous Rocks
  • Sedimentary Rocks
  • Metamorphic Rocks
  • Mineral Identification
L1 Rock & Mineral ID Options

Rock and Mineral Identification Field Guide

Our Rock and Mineral Identification field guide is filled with information on how to identify rocks and minerals. There are charts on the rocks that will help you identify all three major groups of rocks.Keys to mineral identification are also listed in the field guide to help in the identification of individual minerals.

Color pictures of rocks and minerals

Color pictures throughout the rock and mineral identification field guide of many rocks and minerals are included in the book. The book was designed to be carried in backpacks on field trips. It can also be used at home to identify unknown rocks that have been picked up over the years by people interested in rocks and minerals. 

Using charts to identify rocks and minerals

The charts in the book are based on characteristics taught in the textbooks: Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, Metamorphic Rocks and Minerals. The charts use basic characteristics to identify rocks and minerals. The DVD contains video lessons on how to use the textbook when identifying rocks.

Recommendation by Jim Brace-Thompson

This book and the materials found on our website have been recommended by the Junior Program Chair, Jim Brace-Thompson of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies. Mr. Thompson found the materials we offered a wealth of information to the junior members of the society. He wrote that our books are beautifully designed and illustrated with easy-to-following instructions.

More Rock and Mineral Identification Links

L1 Rock Identification Course 1 — Level 1 Course 1 is designed for students in the upper elementary grades. The course includes Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, Metamorphic Rocks and the Rock and Mineral Identification Field Guide. Three sets of rocks are included in the basic and complete kits.

L1 Igneous Rocks — Learn what is igneous rocks and how to identify the four major types of igneous rocks. Learn how they are based on their quartz content. They can also be classified by their color and volcanoes that produce each type of igneous rocks.

L1 Sedimentary Rocks — Sedimentary rocks cover 75% of the surface of the Earth. You will learn how to identify these three major groups of sedimentary rocks based on their characteristics: clastic, organic and chemical.

L1 Metamorphic Rocks —Learn about how plate tectonics create new metamorphic rocks from older igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Metamorphic rocks are rocks of change due to crustal plate movement.

L1 Rock and Mineral ID Field Guide —The field guide is divided into four major sections that help students identify rocks found worldwide. The easy-to-use field guide contains basic information on common rocks, charts and pictures that are kid friendly.

L1 Basic Earth Science Course 2 — Level 1 Course 2 will take a semester to complete by students finishing three lessons per week. The Earth Science books in this course are the Rock Cycle, Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Earth Science. Three sets of rocks are included in the basic and complete kits.

L1 Rock Cycle — This Earth Science textbook includes 12 lessons on igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Each lesson and earth science activity is designed to increase a student’s understanding of the rocks found on our planet.

L1 Volcanoes — Volcanoes on Earth explode with tremendous force creating huge eruptions. Learn about volcanoes that produce devastating eruptions and those that produce quiet eruptions.

L1 Earthquakes — Earthquakes can occur anywhere on our planet. Most the great earthquakes occur around the Pacific Ring of Fire. Find out how these great earthquakes produce tsunamis that travel thousands of miles.

L1 Earth Science —Learn how three scientists from different countries discovered major layers inside the Earth using only earthquake waves. Other lessons in this book include Earth’s Plate Tectonics, Oceans and Layers of the Atmosphere.

L1 Minerals — There are over 3000 named minerals. Learn to identify minerals using seven important properties. Eliminating properties that a mineral does not have you can learn to identify them.

L1 Basic Earth Science — Level 1 Ring of Fire Science textbooks are designed for 3rd - 6th grade students. These basic Earth Science textbooks each contain twelve written lessons, quizzes and kids science activities.

Ring of Fire Science

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