Yes, ice is a rock.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain what it takes to be considered a rock, and explain why it is that ice qualifies.
Is Ice A Rock? (Why or Why Not?)
What Makes A Rock A Rock?
A rock is a mix of one or more minerals.
The substance may also contain solid organic remains and mineraloids.
These materials (minerals, mineraloids, etc) maybe easily identified, or not.
Some good examples of rocks that are pretty mainstream and familiar to people are basalt, granite, limestone, and sandstone.
Basalt, as an example of a “rock” is made up of plagioclase and pyroxene minerals.
Granite, as another rock example, is made of quartz, feldspar, and mica, among other minerals.
Limestone is made up mostly of calcium carbonate, as well as clay, pyrite, and quartz, among other materials.
What’s The Difference Between A Mineral And A Rock?
A mineral is a substance that meets five requirements: the substance must exist naturally in the world (not man-made, though man can make it), it is a solid at normal Earth temps, the substance is inorganic, the chemical composition is consistent, and the substance has an orderly structure, usually crystalline.
A rock is a mixture of many different substances. The substances in the rock may be minerals, and they may not.
But in general, most rocks fail to be considered minerals because, as a mixture, their chemical composition is not consistent throughout the material.
Every mineral can also be considered a rock.
But not every rock can be considered a mineral.
Does Ice Qualify As A Mineral?
Yes, ice qualifies as a mineral. It exists naturally in the world, it is a solid at normal Earth temperatures, it is completely inorganic, the chemical composition is consistent, and the structure is orderly.
Is Ice A Rock?
Since every mineral is considered a rock (though the inverse is not true), then it follows logically that since ice is a mineral, ice is also a rock.
Is Glacial Ice A Rock?
Glacial ice forms differently than lake ice or ice cubes in the freezer.
Glacial ice forms over time, as millions of snowflakes fall from the sky and land on top of other snowfkales.
Due to the weight of the flakes overhead, the snowflakes eventually form connections to each other over time.
The recrystallization can produce extremely large ice crystals.
But in the end, glacial ice still meets the qualifications of a mineral (natural, solid, inorganic, chemically consistent, and orderly). And since glacial ice is a mineral, glacial ice qualifies as a rock.
Are There Examples Of When Ice Is Not A Rock?
When ice is a mineral, it is a rock.
Ice is only considered a mineral when the ice forms naturally.
Man made ice, though it is just about the same in most cases to ice you’d find naturally in the world, does not qualify as a mineral.
Thus, man made ice (like the ice cubes that you create by putting water in square shaped trays), is not considered to be a rock.
Though if you were to leave the ice cube trays outside on a cold rainy night, and the rain filled up the trays, and then the water in the trays froze without the interference of humans, you would have a pretty good argument that they ice cubes could be considered rocks.
Is Ice Harder Than Rock?
As discussed, any mineral can be considered a rock.
Minerals exhibit many different hardness levels, from extremely soft (meaning soft enough that you could scratch it with your fingernail), to extremely hard, meaning you couldn’t scratch it with a knife or pointed end of a metal screw.
Ice is not that hard; it’s Moh’s hardness level is only about a 1.5 or a 2.
If the rock was made up of minerals with a higher Moh’s level could scratch it, then the rock would be considered harder than ice.
But a rock made up of minerals or organic materials that are softer than ice (such as talc), then ice would be considered harder than the rock.
Interested in learning about other common substances, and whether they’d be considered a mineral? Check out our mineral articles about: sand, concrete, dirt, gravel, seawater, and charcoal.