The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,050 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,044 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life…
For this week’s Outpost/Rocks and Minerals Beginner Level Merit Badge, I needed to learn the difference between rocks and minerals.
This is one of those questions that if you were to pose it to me, I would suavely nod and try to say something that sounds intelligent, but inside would be quivering with social anxiety and the appalling knowledge that I forgot everything my first grade teacher taught me.
Sorry, Miss Banks.
It’s just one of those things you think you know, until you really ponder it a second. So, it was time to put my ego aside and relearn some basics.
Here is what I found, my wee farmgirls:
- Made up of lots of minerals
- Have no definite shape
- Colors will vary
- Some will have fossils
- Not a single crystal
- Made up of one pure substance
- Have a more definite shape
- Will be more colorful
- Will not have fossils
- Usually have crystals
Ah ha! It was all coming together. (And sounding familiar, too.)
*Miss Banks breathes a sigh of relief that she didn’t waste her life after all.*
Three forms of rocks are:
IGNEOUS – granite, scoria, obsidian
SEDIMENTARY – sandstone, conglomerate, shale
METAMORPHIC – marble, schist, gneiss
(That last one sounds like a character from a Dr. Seuss book, if you ask me, but I checked my spelling several times.)
It turns out that identifying rocks or minerals is pretty complicated, and sometimes even geologists have a tough time. My respect for such devoted gurus of the lowly rock went up several notches.
A couple of other things I learned that I didn’t find in my helpful library books but thought I would share with you:
- Rocks are better for skipping on lakes than minerals. My record is six skips. *blows on nails with humble air and shrugs lightly as if to say, no biggy*
- I was the third rock from the right in my third grade school play. I played it with such convincing believability, you would have been impressed. I mean, I was the rock. Method acting, kiddos. It’s not just for Daniel Day-Lewis.
- Rocks are fun to paint when you’re feeling stressed. No, really! Try it. Ladybugs are cute, but the solar system is even better. Then you can line them up in order of size. Don’t forget Pluto. Never forget Pluto … I’m making t-shirts with that promise.
- Rock Museums are wayyyy fun, and educational to boot. Most of them have polishing machines and I don’t care how old you are; watching a dull, brown rock become something shiny and special is mesmerizing, peeps.
Another interesting fact is that some minerals, like quartz, mica, or feldspar are quite common, while others have been found in only one or two locations worldwide. Like, ever. Suddenly, I found myself daydreaming of traveling to those locations, and coming back with rare forms of unusual minerals! I’d be like the Indiana Jones of rocks and minerals. Dr. Seuss could write a book about me.