July 2014    Print this article

Two field guides for exploring the Earth's crust

Charlotte Grenier, Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles


Summer is the best time to discover the many rocks and minerals that can be found all around us. A hammer, a hand lens, a couple of rock and mineral field guides, and a good sense of observation are all you need to learn about the fascinating world of rocks and minerals.

An update of the most pertinent information

Although the compositions of rocks and minerals do not change, our geological knowledge and our understanding of the natural environment are constantly evolving. We have updated our 10-year-old guides to reflect our current level of knowledge, making the world of rocks and minerals even more accessible.

The rock field guide presents the classification systems for igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and explains how they formed. Using colour illustrations, it describes more than 30 rocks commonly found in Québec and lists the main observations needed to identify them. The terms and the classification method are the same as those used in other tools provided by the Ministry. It is the perfect guide for a first introduction into geology.

The mineral field guide, which first appeared in 2009, will be your main tool on identifying minerals. You will find a detailed description of the 40 most commonly found minerals in our province. It also includes a supplement that describes the main noble metals. It is an authoritative guide for an initiation into the world of mineralogy.

The rocks of Québec are part of our wealth of natural resources and provide the raw materials for more than 50% of the objects around us. A little knowledge about the main rock types helps us appreciate these non-renewable resources even more.

You can obtain copies of these guides at the Centre de services des mines, or at Publications du Québec or a bookstore.

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