BGS Rock Classification Scheme

Fri May 5 12:28:41 2000

A comment by J. Wright Horton, Jr. about

Science language for geologic-map databases

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has just released (1999) a standard rock
classification scheme in four volumes:

Vol. 1. Igneous Rocks (56 pages)
Vol. 2. Metamorphic Rocks (26 pages)
Vol. 3. Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks (46 pages)
Vol. 4. "Superficial" Deposits (66 pages)

The classification appears to be scientifically sound, up-to-date (1999),
remarkably comprehensive, and well integrated considering the diversity of
subjects.  It is designed for computer databases and includes descriptive
and interpretive modifiers as well as rock names.  Sources include some
widely used North American references, and the scheme is generally
consistent with common North American usage, except for British variations
in the use of terms (such as "superficial") and spelling (such as "aeolian).
 My guess is that vols. 1-3 would be acceptable to most North American
geologists with minor quibbles, and that vol. 4 might generate more debate.

All four volumes are available for free viewing and download in .pdf or .html
formats at:

Is the BGS Rock Classification Scheme or any of its components suitable as a
"straw man" for consideration, and possible adoption with modifications, by
the North American Science Language Technical Team (SLTT)?

Context of this discussion

This page is part of a discussion of Science language for geologic-map databases:

Further discussion of BGS Rock Classification Scheme (this page):