Difference Between Rocks and Minerals

In the Breaking Bad series, Hank Schrader (Dean Morris) was a FDA detective, who on the side collected minerals, but these elements were (intentionally) mistaken for rocks throughout the show. So let’s get the record straight.

Minerals are naturally occurring compounds that are of a crystalline structure formed by geological processes. They contain a unique chemical structure and physical properties. Minerals are inorganic, meaning that they have not originated from living organisms, with respect to organic compounds that do originate from living organisms. Coal is an example of an organic material.

Rocks on the other hand are from organic compounds. They are solid, stony elements, that can be composed of a combination of minerals or other organic compounds.

Another way of putting it is a mineral is a solid formation that occurs naturally in the earth, while a rock is a solid combination of more than one mineral formations which is also occurring naturally.

An example of a mineral is quartz and feldspars, but if you combine them together, they become a rock, namely, granite.

Another example is limestone, which is a rock composed almost entirely of the mineral calcite.

See more here about the composition of minerals.