Rocks and minerals are the source of almost every
material that is produced on the Earth. Most objects that we
commonly use today originate from a rocks or minerals source.
Without the mining of coal, humans would not be able to fuel
machinery to produce many of the products that are used today
in society. Rocks and minerals also provide the raw materials
necessary to build homes or any other construction project. In
fact, the mineral gypsum is the main material in sheet rock,
which is widely used as the wall structure for most new
The solid portion of the Earth's crust, the
lithosphere, is composed of naturally occurring materials made
up of one or more minerals, called rock. All rocks are
composed of minerals.
The image below, taken from the
Earth Science Reference Tables, shows how different
rock types form from one another.
the building blocks for all rocks.
are naturally occurring, inorganic, crystalline,
solid materials with definite chemical composition,
molecular structure, and certain physical properties. Of
the more than 2000 minerals on Earth, about a dozen of
them make up about 90% of the Earth's crust.
Rocks and Minerals
Many students have trouble with the
identification of rocks and minerals. If you happen to
be one of those students please take your Earth Science
reference tables out and carefully read over the
sections on rocks and minerals. Pages
16 in the
Earth Science Reference Tables are where one
will find the necessary information to complete proper
rock and mineral identification. For more on rocks and
minerals and how to properly identify each refer to the
links in the upper left-hand corner of this page. Then
go to the multiple-choice questions and your textbook
for further practice.
This page and the links at the left are designed to aid
students in reviewing the following topics which will appear
on the New York State Earth Science Regents Examination. In
addition, students may test their knowledge of the material
presented here by accessing multiple-choice questions from
past Regents Exams.