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Names for All Our Rocks

On this page we show you photos of all the types of rocks that we find in the yards, gardens, streets, parking lots, and railroad tracks near our home.  We also include examples of "fake rocks" made by people, like concrete and slag.

Once you know a rock's name, you can learn more by clicking on its picture or name. 

To get started, look at the color of the rock.  Is it:

bulletWhite or light gray
bulletDark gray or black
bulletRed or pink or rusty looking
bulletBrown, tan, or yellowish
bulletSilvery

   

White or light gray

White Marble
bulletMostly bright white.
bulletMade of medium-sized crystals that glitter in sunlight.
bulletYou can scratch it with a nail or knife, and the rock bubbles in vinegar or acid.
  
White Chert
bulletMostly white, sometimes chalky looking or smooth.
bulletBroken edges may be sharp or scalloped.
bulletNail doesn't scratch it and it does not bubble in vinegar.
  
White Granite
bulletMostly white or yellowish, with dark specks.
bulletSmall broken crystal surfaces shine in sunlight.
bulletNail doesn't scratch it and it does not bubble in vinegar.
  
Dolostone
bulletMostly light gray.
bulletYou can scratch it with a nail or knife.
bulletOnly powdered rock bubbles in vinegar or acid.
  
Limestone
bulletLight to dark gray.
bulletYou can scratch it with a nail or knife.
bulletRock bubbles in vinegar or acid.
  
Gray Slag
bulletLight to dark gray or yellowish.
bulletDull to somewhat glassy.
bulletUsually has lots of rounded bubble holes.
bulletSome spots bubble in vinegar or acid, but most place do not.
     
Quartz (from Pegmatite)
bulletCloudy white, a bit pinkish, or clear.
bulletLooks a bit like broken glass.
bulletNail doesn't scratch it and it does not bubble in vinegar or acid.
     
Quartzite pebbles
bulletWhite (also yellowish or light brown).
bulletCan see large sand grains -- sometimes crumbly.
bulletNail doesn't scratch it and it does not bubble in vinegar or acid.
    

     GO TO:   TOP   White   Gray/Black   Red/Pink   Brown/Yellow   Silvery
   
  

Dark gray or black

Slate
bulletDark gray, looks silky in the sun.
bulletBreaks into mostly flat pieces.
   
Basalt or "Trap Rock"
bulletDark gray, dull looking.
bulletMostly fine-grained, but may contain scattered larger crystals.
bulletBreaks into chunks with smooth sides.
  
Scoria (type of Basalt)
bulletBlack or reddish.
bulletLots of rounded bubble holes.
bulletDoesn't float in water.
   
Slag (human-made lava)
bulletBlack, whitish, or reddish.
bulletSome rounded bubble holes, but mixed with crumbly places and smooth glassy spots.
bulletSome parts fizz in acid.
  
Obsidian or Volcanic Glass
bulletDraws no line or a white line on the sidewalk.
bulletHard to break -- if you do break it, sharp edges can cut you!
  
   Coal
bulletDraws a black line if you scrape it on the sidewalk.
bulletPretty easy to break into a mix of blocky, crumbly, and powdery pieces that leave your hands dirty!
    
Gabbro
bulletLooks dark gray, but really a mix of black and light crystals.  
bulletSmall broken crystal surfaces shine in sunlight.

     GO TO:   TOP   White   Gray/Black   Red/Pink   Brown/Yellow   Silvery
   
  

Red or pink or rusty looking

Scoria (a type of Basalt)
bulletReddish or black.
bulletLots of bubble holes.
bulletDoesn't float in water.
  
Pink Quartzite
bulletPink, sometimes yellowish.
bulletIf you look closely, you may see some pieces are made of sand-sized grains.
  
Red Granite
bulletMostly reddish pink, but...
bullet...if you look closely, you'll also see gray and purplish spots.
  
Saprolite ("weathered" granite)
bulletMost pieces stained rusty red or coated with a dark reddish crust.
bulletIf you look closely, you'll see pink, gray, and darker crystals (like in Red Granite).
  
Pegmatite (like granite, but with really big crystals!)
bulletPink pieces mixed with whitish, gray, and silvery pieces.
bulletMost pieces are made of only a few large crystals.
  
Quartz rock
bulletMost pieces stained rusty red or yellowish, or coated with rusty-red powder.
bulletIf you look closely, you'll see small, pointy crystals and thinly layered rock.

     GO TO:   TOP   White   Gray/Black   Red/Pink   Brown/Yellow   Silvery
   
  

Brown, tan, or yellowish

Brown Chert
bulletMostly brown, but mixed with cream and darker colors.
bulletSome sides look really smooth, but freshly broken edges may be sharp!
bulletNail doesn't scratch it (but may leave a dark line).
  
Pumice
bulletTan or gray.
bulletLots of bubble holes.
bulletFeels very light in weight, for a rock.
bulletDry pieces often float in water.
    
Quartzite pebbles
bulletBrownish, yellowish, or white.
bulletCan see large sand grains in some pieces -- sometimes crumbly.
bulletNail doesn't scratch it (but may leave a dark line).
  
Brown Quartzite pebbles
bulletBrownish, tan, white, or reddish.
bulletOutside very rounded and smooth.
bulletBroken edges look glassy and may be sharp.
bulletNail doesn't scratch it (but may leave a dark line).

     GO TO:   TOP   White   Gray/Black   Red/Pink   Brown/Yellow   Silvery
   
  

Silvery

Mica (in Pegmatite)
bulletThick pieces look silvery.
bulletBreaks into thin, flat flakes -- you can see light through them!
bulletOften stuck on or mixed with larger pink, white, and gray crystals.

     GO TO:   TOP   White   Gray/Black   Red/Pink   Brown/Yellow   Silvery
   
  

If you didn't find your rock yet:

Rounded pebbles
If you have a rounded pebble from a beach or river gravel, you may have to go to this page to find its name.

 


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Copyright 2001 Eric D. Gyllenhaal                                              Search this Site
Webmaster@SaltTheSandbox.org

Neighborhood Rocks is part of the Salt the Sandbox Web. 
For more information visit the Salt the Sandbox home page.

This page was created on March 12, 2001, and it was last updated on July 27, 2002.