Difference Between Rocks and Minerals (With Table) 

When it comes to our active planet, rocks and minerals are considered the building blocks. They are the reason behind landscape formation, and often all the resources which are necessarily valuable require. Knowing about these structures helps to recognize events that shaped and will continue to shape the earth.

In schooling, the phrase “rocks and minerals” is mentioned at some stages of science. Rocks are generally the minerals composition, whereas minerals are not said to be as rocks composition. In this article, the chief aim is on differentiating rocks and minerals.

Rocks vs Minerals 

The main difference between the rocks and the minerals is that rocks are usually beneficial in polishing materials, making buildings, roads, industrial works, etc. On the other hand, for several purposes, different minerals are useful such as the formation of other elements for carving, gem industry, and abrasive.  

Rocks are naturally occurring as well as the coherent aggregate of minerals in one or more amounts. Such clusters constitute the basic unit through which solid earth is and particularly form mappable end recognizable volumes. The rock’s texture is the size of the shape, and the arrangement of the crystals (for metamorphic and igneous rocks) are grains (for sedimentary rocks).  

A mineral is a substance that takes place naturally with distinctive physical and chemical composition, properties, and atomic structure. Economic minerals are usually extracted from the earth by pumping, mining, and quarrying and used in a range of applications linked to manufacturing, energy supply, construction, and agriculture. 

Comparison Table Between Rocks and Minerals 

Parameters of Comparison







No definite shape

Usually have a shape


Color is not the same

Color is generally the same


Some have fossils

No fossils


Limestone, claystone, basalt, and coal

Zinc, iron, potassium, and sodium

What are Rocks? 

Rocks or simply a stone categorized by the minerals consisted its performance and chemical composition. They form the solid layer outside the earth, namely crust and most of its interior, except for the outer core’s liquid and magma’s pocket in the asthenosphere.   

Into mainly three groups, the rocks usually grouped, namely metamorphic rocks, sedimentary rocks, and igneous rocks. The formation of metamorphic rocks takes place when existing rocks face high temperatures and pressures. Further, transform as continental plates collide.   

The formation of sedimentary rocks took place through sediments of lithification or diagenesis which in turn formed by the deposition, transport, and weathering of existing rocks. The formation of igneous rocks took place when in the earth’s crust magma cools, or lava cools on the ground surface.   

In terms of the human race’s technological and cultural development, the usage of rocks has a great impact. The usage of rock took place by humans at least 2.5 million years ago. Lithic technology marks some of the continuous and oldest news technologies. 

What are Minerals? 

Mineral or simply mineral species’ is a solid chemical compound with well-defined chemical composition. It is also a specific crystal structure that naturally in pure form occurs. Living beings synthesize the inorganic minerals like hydroxyapatite that occur also in rocks. The IMA or International Mineralogical Station is a recognized standard body for nomenclature and definition of mineral species.   

According to January 2022, the official mineral species recognized by IMA areas 5,780 out of 5,981, which are traditional or proposed ones. In case chemical compounds occur with distinctive crystals structures, but naturally. Then each structure is referred to as different mineral species. For instance, stishovite and quartz consist of the same compound, namely silicon dioxide, but they are two distinctive minerals.  

The named mineral species chemical composition might vary by the inclusion of impurities’ in little amounts. Sometimes, a particular variety of species have official or conventional names of their own. For instance, amethyst is a purple variety of quartz mineral species. But other mineral species can have two or more chemical elements’ variable proportions that in the mineral’s structure occupy equivalent positions.  

Through key chemical constitutes, the mineral is classified. The two dominant systems are the Strunz classification and the Dana classification. 90% earth’s crust is mainly comprised of silicate minerals. Other vital mineral groups consist the sulfites, sulfates, oxides, phosphates, and carbonates. 

Main Differences Between Rocks and Minerals 

  1. The physical characteristics of rocks are form, texture, pattern, luster, and color. On the contrary, tenacity, crystal habit, color, specific gravity, hardness, glossy, and fracture are some of the distinguishing characteristics of minerals.   
  2. Foundation and shelter are two of the function in biology done by rocks. In contrast, minerals play a vital function in biology as they aid in tooth and bone formation, muscle contraction, and blood coagulation.  
  3. When it comes to chemical composition, rocks fail to have any chemical composition or simply atomic structure. On the other hand, minerals have a chemical composition in a definite order.   
  4. Rocks are generally classified as metamorphic rocks, sedimentary rocks, and igneous rocks. On the other hand, the classification of minerals is done into four groups. They are metallic minerals, sulfides minerals, carbonate minerals, and silicate minerals.   
  5. In terms of usage, rocks are generally useful in polishing materials, making buildings, roads, industrial works, etc. Rocks such as marble and granite are now used for aesthetic reasons in home improvement. Meanwhile, for various purposes, different minerals are useful like carving, gem industry, the formation of other elements, and abrasive.   


It can be concluded that both rocks and minerals are considered the building blocks because they are the reasons behind landscape formation and also offer all the resources which are needed. Coal, basalt, and limestone are three of the instances of rocks. Petrology is the field of study associated with rocks, whereas mineralogy is associated with minerals. When it comes to color, rocks’ color is not the same.

On the contrary, color is usually the same in minerals. Rocks are usually the minerals composition. Meanwhile, minerals are not said to be as rocks composition. Some rocks have fossils, but there are no such fossils in minerals. There is no definite shape of rocks, while minerals usually have a specific form. 


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fCP5qyRyX-oC&oi=fnd&pg=PP7&dq=rocks&ots=N-3G9g-zB1&sig=XDf7xoy32ThVDrx-_TdIpXb3_GQ
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=vdHGDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR10&dq=minerals&ots=B5q87Wvhgc&sig=atm-HSbk3iZTYJydItrUVOUNYBY