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An introduction to geology
An introduction to geology

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1.5 Identifying rocks: going into the ‘field’

You will now have the chance to locate and identify your own rocks.

Activity 1.3 Finding and identifying rocks

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Part 1

First, watch the following video. In this video, Anne and Marcus identify a variety of rock types in the building stone at Milton Keynes shopping centre. Pay particular attention to the indicators they use to distinguish between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, as your next task will be to go out and find your own rock sample.

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Video 1.3 Identifying rocks: going into the field
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Part 2

Timing: Allow about 60 minutes

Now go and examine some rocks in your local area. You don’t have to go far; you could have a look in your local shopping centre, high street or even a kitchen work surface.

When examining each rock, look up close and from different angles to check for grain shape, evidence of interlocking grains, fragmental texture and layering. You could take advantage of your camera’s magnification slider to look more closely.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what something is. Rocks aren't always so easily categorised – sometimes even a trained geologist will need some quite fancy analyses to figure out what they are.

If you can’t go outside or live far away from any rocks, you could potentially use Google Street View to locate a sample.