One of the most widely studied topics in Geology is Rocks and Minerals.  Students study it in elementary school on a very basic level, certainly examine it in high school Earth Science classes, and can take courses on it in college through the Geology department.  There are entire programs dedicated to this topic at the graduate level.
 
The scientific word for the study of rocks is Petrology, and the scientific word for the study of minerals is Mineralogy.  People often use the terms "rock" and "mineral" interchangeably, but in science they have two different and clearly defined meanings, and mineralogy and petrology are two distinct disciplines within earth science.
 
Minerals are solids made of certain inorganic (non-living and non-Carbon-based) materials.  They have a definite chemical composition and crystal structure. This means that they are always made up of the same elements arranged in the same way.  As a result, they always have the same physical and chemical properties.  Think of them as the geology equivalent of compounds in chemistry.

Rocks are solid pieces of the earth's crust.  They can be made-up of one or many different minerals. They can be made partly of organic (once-living and Carbon-based) materials.  Different samples of the same rock can look and be distinctly different from one another.  Think of them as the geology equivalent of mixtures in chemistry.
 
Several professional journals are available for research on rocks and minerals, including:  Petrology, Mineralogy and Petrology, Rocks & Minerals, and Journal of Petrology - published at Oxford.  There is a fairly comprehensive list available online at sites for mineral collectors.

Teaching and learning resources are available through On the Cutting Edge, a Geoscience teaching resource site.  You can also find a free college-level course on the topic through MIT's Open Course-ware Platform.

To see some great pictures of rocks and minerals, you can view the galleries of rocks, minerals, and gems on display at the Smithsonian Museum.  (Gems are cut and polished rocks or minerals which have monetary value and are used in jewelery) or several other online galleries.

To fulfill our tutoring mission of online education, our college homework help and online tutoring centers are standing by 24/7, ready to assist college students who need homework help with all aspects of rocks and minerals. Our earth science tutors can help with all your projects, large or small, and we challenge you to find better online rocks and minerals tutoring anywhere.

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