PETROLOGY TERMS

Petrology is a discipline of geology that studies rocks, minerals and the processes that act on them. Scientists focus on the formation of rocks in this field of science.

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Diabase

Diabase, an igneous rock similar to basalt in composition, but with coarser grains.

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  • How is volcanic ash made?
    How is volcanic ash made?

    Folks in Montana usually expect snow or rain to fall from the sky, not ash. But the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington flung ash across state lines. What is this gritty, gray stuff? See more »

  • Clay
    Clay

    Clay, an earthy material composed of very small particles of weathered rock. The particles are less than 0.00015 inch (0.004 mm) in diameter, much smaller than sand particles. See more »

  • Granite
    Granite

    Granite, a coarse-grained rock widely distributed in the earth's crust. Granite is very hard and takes a beautiful polish. See more »

  • Marble
    Marble

    Marble, a snowy white or richly colored ornamental stone. Polishing brings out the handsome grain, network of delicate veins, and cloudy hues that give marble its special beauty. See more »

  • Rock
    Rock

    Rock, the solid material that makes up the earth's crust. Soil, sand, and other loose natural materials are not usually considered to be rock, although they are derived principally from rocks. See more »

  • Andesite
    Andesite

    Andesite, a fine-grained rock that is widely distributed in the earth's crust. See more »

  • Basalt
    Basalt

    Basalt, one of the most abundant rocks in the earth's crust. It is an igneous rock (one formed by the cooling of molten materials). See more »

  • Bentonite
    Bentonite

    Bentonite, the name given to a group of industrially useful clays containing the mineral montmorillonite. See more »

  • Chalk
    Chalk

    Chalk, a very soft, powdery variety of limestone. Like all limestone, it consists mainly of calcium carbonate. See more »

  • Conglomerate (geology)
    Conglomerate (geology)

    Conglomerate, in geology, a sedimentary rock composed of rounded rock fragments cemented together by a finer-grained material such as sand or clay. See more »

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