Introduction to rocks

Rocks are solid at room temperature. They are made of grains that fit together. Each grain in a piece of rock is made from a mineral, which is a chemical compound. The grains in a rock can have different:

  • colours
  • shapes
  • sizes

Types of grains

Some types of rock have interlocking grains that fit tightly together. Granite is a rock with interlocking grains. Other types of rock have rounded grains. Sandstone is a rock with rounded grains.

Granite's interlocking grains
Granite has interlocking grains
Sandstone's rounded grains
Sandstone has rounded grains

Porous rocks

Rocks with rounded grains are more likely to absorb water than rocks with interlocking grains. This is because the water can get into the gaps between the grains. Rocks that absorb water are described as being porous.

Rocks with rounded grains are usually softer and more crumbly than rocks with interlocking grains. So porous rocks tend to be softer than non-porous rocks.

Granite has interlocking grainsRocks with interlocking grains are more likely to be hard and non-porousSandstone has rounded grainsRocks with rounded grains are more likely to be crumbly and porous