Earth Science – Geology Module 4 Assignment: Granite Field Trip


or this assignment, I want you to find a granite surface and take a photograph of it. If you really get stuck finding a granite surface, try heading to Lowes or Home Depot and visiting the kitchen planning area to see many different samples of granite. If you are really adventurous, try going to a granite warehouse where you can see a number of large slabs. It is truly a thrill to inspect the variety of minerals in granite. Cautionary note: although "Quartz" countertop materials have become popular lately, and some can be manufactured to look very similar to granite, they are NOT a natural rock. They are man-made, like a terrazzo floor or concrete. Don't be fooled.

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Remember that while you are looking at a rock, what you are actually seeing are the interlocked mineral crystals. After you find your granite, you will identify at least three of the minerals that are evident from a visual inspection. You will do this based on the color of the constituent minerals and by doing some research to learn the "usual suspects" that you might find in that variety of granite. Do not worry about being exact with your identification. Just do your best.

Typical minerals that appear in granite

Figure 4. The image above illustrates some of the most typical minerals that appear in granite. Image credit: Slippery Rock Gazette 

Assignment Instructions

Part A: The Texture of Igneous Rocks

  1. What is magma and how does it differ from lava?
  2. Explain how and why the rate of cooling is different for magma and lava.
  3. Discuss how the rate of cooling of molten rock influences the size of the mineral crystals. 
  4. Granite has a phaneritic texture. Explain what that means, and what it has to do with the cooling history of the rock. 
  5. Do some research and find information on a granite quarry. Insert an image of the quarry, give the location, and provide a short description of the type of granite this quarry is known for.
  6. Include links to each resource used to help you with your image and quarry information.

Part B: Granite Field Trip

  1. Take a photo of your granite, and insert it into your assignment.
  2. Explain where you found your granite. Was it in your kitchen, in a store, or elsewhere?
  3. Annotate your photo with circles around at least three specific minerals and attempt to identify them. Use an arrow with a label for the mineral name. Look at the image above for an idea of how this might be done and read the information in the module folder for the typical mineral found in granite. 
  4. Include a link to each resource used to help you with your mineral identification and information on granite. 

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