Andy "Rocks"

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Identifying Rocks

Collecting rocks can be a lot of fun! Some are smooth while others are jagged. Some are shiny while others are not. One thing rocks all of in common, though, is that they are always changing.

How do rocks change? Wind and water wear them down and carry bits of rock away. This is called erosion. Then the tiny particles gather in a lake, under the earth or in a volcano and turn into a new rock.

Here is some information on the types of rocks you will encounter:

Sedimentary rocks are sandy looking rocks with fine particles, otherwise called sediment. These rocks form on the surface of the Earth. They are made up of other rocks, clay particles, mud, sand grains and fragments of plants, shells or animals. Colours can vary depending on the contents of the rock.

Metamorphic rocks are formed under the earth where pressure and temperatures reach extreme levels, morphing them into new shapes. Because of the extreme pressure and heat, metamorphic rocks are tougher and more compact that sedimentary rocks. The sizes of these rocks can be mixed, and the lines in the rock may be bent or warped as a result of the extreme heat. Colours range from near white to dark grey.

Igneous rocks are formed when magma cools underground and crystallizes or when it erupts unto the surface of the ground, cools and crystallizes. Magma that erupts onto the surface is called lava. When magma cools slowly underground the crystals are large enough to see. When it cools quickly on the surface, the crystals are very small and you would need a magnifier or a microscope to see them. A common place to find igneous rocks is inside or near volcanoes. Colours can range from white to pink, and green to black.

Train your mind and your eyes to become an expert rock hunter. Try to match the rocks displayed at the side with the three rock types described above.

Use Andy Camper activities to become a rock expert! Start a rock collection, create your own rock garden, or build an Inukshuk.

Activity Code: AC 111-1

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