Monday, 8 December 2014

what is the difference between a rock and a stone

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OK, so we say there are pebbles on the beach, we live in stone houses and contemplate life sitting on rocks.  But are there key differences between them or is it just size that defines them?

Rocks are defined as naturally occurring solid aggregate consisting of one or more minerals. A rock is a large rugged mass of stone or mineral. 

Rocks are geologically classified according to characteristics such as mineral and chemical composition, permeability, the texture of the constituent particles, and particle size. 

Rocks can be formed in three ways.  Rocks formed by from lava on the Earth's surface or from magmas deep underground are called Igneous rocks. Secondly, Metamorphic rocks are formed when rocks have undergone profound changes due to pressure and heat. The last type of rock found on Earth are sedimentary rocks which form on the Earth's crust. 

Examples of rocks include granite, basalt, gabbros, sandstone, limestone, slate, marble and serpentine.


A stone is a small piece of rock of any shape. It is a hard substance made up of rock or mineral material. A stone is always hard, whereas a rock may be hard or soft. 

All stones are rocks but not all rocks are stones.

A stone is a fragment of rock that can be classified by its shape and size, and is larger than sands, silts, and clays and is not classified as gravel, cobbles, or boulders.


Pebbles are small stones that have had their edges smoothed by wave action.  They are often found at the edge of flowing water or on the beach, or where such water once existed. 

Pebbles are larger than granules (2 to 4 millimetres diameter) and smaller than cobbles (64 to 256 millimetres diameter). 

They come in various colours and textures, and may have streaks of quartz or different coloured sedimentary rock running through them.  

All pebbles are stones but not all stones are pebbles. 

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