What Kind of Rock Is This?
ES0610  Metamorphic Layering

  !   Read the questions below each image.

Is the layering very fine with no visible crystals? If yes, your sample is probably slate. Slate exhibits very flat non-shiny surfaces.
Is the surface shiny or does it have a slight sheen that reflects light? If yes, your sample is probably phyllite.
Does the rock have shiny, visible crystals, all aligned in the same direction? If yes, your sample is probably schist. Schist may exhibit small folds.
Does the layering consist of alternating dark and light-colored bands? If yes, your sample is probably gneiss.

If you have identified your sample, return to the beginning of the rock identification key, select another rock sample, and begin the process over again.

If your rock sample does not have any of the features described on this page, re-examine the rock with a hand lens or magnifying glass. Look at the sample from all angles. Concentrate on fresh surfaces where you might be able to better determine the texture. Return to the beginning of the rock identification key and start over again.