Rocks, Minerals, and Soil

Science Encyclopedia for Kids

Earth's Ingredients - Rock Basics, Minerals; Unique in Structure and Make-up

Rocks, minerals, and soil make up our solid Earth. We depend on them everyday. We use rocks, for instance, in all of our streets and highways. Our homes and buildings also contain rock, both inside and out. Minerals play a big role in our lives, too. Coins and cell phones, computers and glass, all make use of minerals. Wires that carry electricity to our cities and towns contain minerals as well.…

3 minute read

Three Types of Rock - Rock Formed by Cooling and Hardening, Rock Formed From Particles, Rock Formed By Heat and Pressure

Rocks may be speckled or solid-colored, bumpy or smooth, dense or filled with holes. A rock's look has a lot to do with its mineral make-up. But, just as important is how the rock formed. There are three types of rock formations. One type forms when melted rock cools and hardens. A second type consists of layers of small particles. The third rock type forms under intense heat and pressure.…

6 minute read

Looking at Minerals - Crystal Shapes, Other Properties of Minerals

Rocks form as their minerals grow. Each mineral begins to build its solid shape at a certain temperature. Most minerals need liquid in order to grow. Different minerals grow at different rates. Various gases, liquids, and other minerals can affect the way a mineral grows. As they grow, minerals take various forms. Many minerals form crystals. But others form into grains, fibers, or nuggets…

4 minute read

Soil Formation - Life in the Soil, Soils Form Differently, Layers of Soil

Soil gets its start when rocks break down. Little by little, the forces of wind and water, heat and cold, loosen rock surfaces. In time, bits of rocks and minerals break free. These particles slowly build up. Beneath them is the rock from which they came, also known as parent material. Sometimes wind and water carry rock particles to a new location where the parent material is different. …

3 minute read

The Changing Earth - The Rock Cycle, Protect Resources

Rocks, minerals, and soil are always on the move. They are constantly combining, and recombining. These changes take place both above and below the Earth's surface. The oldest and slowest Earth cycle is rock formation. From deep in the Earth, hot magma rises up. The magma cools and hardens into igneous rock. Over time, weathering forces loosen its surface and carry away rock and mineral fr…

1 minute read


atoms (AT-uhms): the tiniest parts, or building blocks, of elements corundum (ko-RUN-duhm): a common, colorless mineral that occasionally occurs in gemstone form crystals (KRISS-tuhls): the solid forms of a substance, such as a mineral, containing many repeated flat surfaces elements (EL-uh-muhnts): basic chemicals found in all matter that cannot be split into simpler substances extrusive (ex-TRU…

1 minute read

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