So, we now make our first foray into the world of geology. E studied geology at university and books about rocks still muddy our bookshelves. I keep telling E we should keep them on the mantlepiece, next to the lava lamp, but she is never magmanimous on this matter. So, I was trying to think of how I could make reading a review of a book about rocks a little less schist for you, dear reader, and I have decided to create a little rocks and minerals quiz for you to do! I’ll put the answers right at the bottom, and then you can let me know how you did. Won’t that be fun?! You can also ask any questions you may have about rocks in the comments, and I will do my best to crystallise my knowledge into an answer (or just ask E). Let’s rock on!
For those of you who want to do a bit of research before attempting the quiz, the back of the book promises
- Full-colour photographs of over 400 rocks and minerals
- Quick-reference tables allow any sample to be easily identified
- Tips of surveying a site and how to use geological maps
- Techniques on how to extract samples
- A guide to purchasing essential equipment
- Tips on safety and conservation
Now before we begin, because I know how enthusiastic you all get, I’m going to pass on a piece of advice from the first page of the introduction, which I think we should all bear in mind in life, as well as for this quiz, “try not to hammer indiscriminately at every rock you see”.
1. To test whether or not a rock contains calcium carbonate, it is useful to have some vinegar. This is because:
a. Rocks containing calcite will fizz on contact with vinegar
b. You will have to have something to put on your chips while you conduct the tests on the rock
c. Rocks containing calcite will change colour on contact with vinegar
2. If you are taking a rock sample, what is an appropriate size?
a. Thumb sized
b. Fist sized
c. Arm sized
3. Put these geological periods in order, starting with the earliest and ending with the most recent.
4. What are cleavage planes?
a. Oo-er, Mrs!
b. Smooth, parallel and often closely spaced planes found in minerals, usually parallel to the crystal faces
5. Put these four stages of the sedimentary rock cycle in order
6. Gneiss and marble are both….
a. Igneous rock
b. Metamorphic rock
c. Sedimentary rock
7. What does ‘leucocratic’ mean?
a. Generally pale in colour
b. Generally dark in colour
c. At least 70 quartz
8. What is the distinguishing feature of ‘ultrabasic rocks’
a. They are made of very small crystals
b. They are metamorphic
c. They are less than 45% silica
9. According to this book, what is a field?
a. Something green with cows in it
b. Anywhere that rocks may be observed in situ
c. A muddy obstacle to be avoided at all costs
10. The UK Houses of Parliament are built of…
(Ok, so question 10 came from my GCSE geography book, not this field guide, but I have remembered it for so long I thought I would throw it in. )
That’s the end of the quiz. If you got question 7 right then you will even have beaten E!
So, how did you find it? Sedimentary, my dear Watson.
1: a. Rocks containing calcite will fizz on contact with vinegar
2: b. Fist sized
3: c. Silurian, a. Jurassic, b Tertiary
4: b. Smooth, parallel and often closely spaced planes found in minerals, usually parallel to the crystal faces
5: a. Weathering, d. transport, c. deposition, b. lithification (although E assures me that weathering happens at either end, so if you put it last you can still have half a point)
6: b. Metamorphic rock
7: a. Generally pale in colour (a bonus point if you got this right, because E didn’t)
8: c. They are less than 45% silica
9: b. Anywhere that rocks may be observed in situ
10: b. Limestone
Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals, Bell and Wright, Chancellor Press, 1994