Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky, Brian Marker

Classification of Rocks

  • Arpita NandiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_51


Rocks are naturally formed aggregations of mineral matter. A mineral is a solid, inorganic, crystalline substance with a definite chemical composition and atomic structure (Klein and Hurlbut 1998). Some rocks may also contain non-mineral materials, such as fossils and glass. Rocks are an essential part of the Earth’s crust. They remain intact in water and cannot be excavated without blasting (West 2010). Rocks are important for design and stability of engineering structures, and classification of rocks provides an adequate means for predicting and communicating their properties. Several classifications of rocks are available, some based on texture and mineral composition and others on origin.


Rocks are the natural building blocks of the Earth. Rocks form by crystallization of magma and lava deposition of sediment carried by rivers into a body of water, precipitation of dissolved minerals (calcite, dolomite, salt), and alteration of existing rocks under the...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesEast Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA