Skip to main content


The new rock kits include some specimens that are not in the event rules. Do we need to know about them?

Every year there is a categorical focus topic in the Rock Hound rules (i.e., Sedimentary, Igneous, or Metamorphic).  The rock kit is designed to support any of those 3 variations in event rules, so that your team is not required to purchase a new kit every year.  

There will be a few specimens every year that are part of the rock kit but are not in scope.  Please refer to the event rules to be certain.

Are you classifying limestone fossil as “bio-clastic” or just "biological"?

Because there is ambiguity about the classification of fossiliferous limestone, this question will not be asked.

Will there be questions on Bowen's reaction series?

Yes, the students should be able to answer questions about Bowen's reaction series.  For example:

  • Given a list of minerals, specify the order of the first to crystallize to the last.
  • What type of igneous rock crystallizes at a given temperature?
Should we study anthracite coal as sedimentary or metamorphic?

Anthracite coal should be classified as metamorphic.  It was previously classified by petrologists as sedimentary rock, but a few years back scientific community decided that it has undergone enough pressure to be considered metamorphic - albeit very low grade metamorphic.


The Rock Hound event rules were updated on December 31. What changed?

The term "chemical class" was listed as parameter to know in regards to rocks, when it should have been included in the list of minerals parameters.  That correction has been made.

May students put letters and numbers on the chart that corresponds with the rocks in their box?

Students may put any information on the 8 1/2" x 14" chart that they may bring into the event, including the index letter or number that is on a rock specimen.

However, because they will not be allowed to bring their own rock specimens into the competition, it is unclear what value that information might have.

The focus this year is on a specific class (e.g., sedimentary); to what extent should we focus our attention on this type of rock vs others?

It is very important to study all of the rock types as well as the minerals. The official specimen list in the rules has both rocks and minerals.  The additional focus rocks and minerals are a relatively small portion of the total.  This proportion of specimens is relatively representative of the degree of focus.

Did you not find the answer to your question in the FAQs?

Ask your rules clarification question here

Event Supervisor

Judith Boyle

Event Supervisor

Ashley Popko

Macomb Science Olympiad

P.O. Box 763, Sterling Heights, MI 48311

For questions about the Elementary division, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.