In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids. For example, the common rock granite is a combination of the quartz, feldspar and biotite minerals. The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock.
Rocks have been used by mankind throughout history. From the Stone Age, rocks have been used for tools. The minerals and metals found in rocks have been essential to human civilization.
Three major groups of rocks are defined: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. The scientific study of rocks is called petrology, which is an essential component of geology.
At a granular level, rocks are composed of grains of minerals, which, in turn, are homogeneous solids formed from a chemical compound that is arranged in an orderly manner. The aggregate minerals forming the rock are held together by chemical bonds. The types and abundance of minerals in a rock are determined by the manner in which the rock was formed. Many rocks contain silica (SiO2); a compound of silicon and oxygen that forms 74.3% of the Earth's crust. This material forms crystals with other compounds in the rock. The proportion of silica in rocks and minerals is a major factor in determining their name and properties.