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
field guide page sample rock and mineral id table of contents

What Our Field Guide Covers

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 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 Volcano rocks are all igneous rocks. Our Igneous Rocks textbook covers the formation of volcano rocks and intrusive rocks.

L1 Sedimentary Rock formation introduces students to the rocks that cover 75% of the surface of the Earth. Lessons include clastic rocks, limestone and coal.

L1 Formation of metamorphic rocks include information about foliated rocks, schist, gniess, marble and quartzite rocks.

L1 Identifying Minerals is much simpler when you know their properties, Learn about identifying minerals using their luster, streak, and cleavage.

Rock and Mineral Identification is a field guide for anyone interested in identifying rocks and minerals they have around their home or collect.

L1 Basic Earth Science textbooks are designed for 3rd - 6th grade students. They include Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, Metamorphic Rocks, Minerals, Rock Cycle, Earth Science, Volcanoes and Earthquakes.

L1 Rock Identification Course 1 - Semester course that includes Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks and Minerals. Excellent course that all ages can use to learn rock identification.

L1 Earth Science Course 2 - Semester course that includes Rock Cycle, Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Earth Science materials. Excellent course for upper elementary students.

Ring of Fire Science

Award winning Earth Science materials here on our website

3rd - 6th Grades
Level 1

Igneous Rocks
Sedimentary Rocks
Metamorphic Rocks
Earth Science
Rock Cycle
Rock ID Field Guide

Rock & Mineral ID
Level 1 Course

Level 1 Earth Science Course

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