The study of the general physical characteristics of rocks.
The general physical characteristics of a rock or the rocks in a particular area.
“I’m a geologist, but I have taken a few courses in lithology to be able to closely inspect the rocks in certain areas.”
“We need to bring in someone versed in lithology to examine the rocks in this area before we break ground.”
“I want to go to this university for its lithology department in particular.”
Latin, early 18th century
WHY THIS WORD?
From the Greek for “stone,” “lithology” concerns the study of the physical nature of rocks. These physical characteristics include mineral composition, color, texture, and size. When you were in school and you learned how to identify the difference between sandstone and limestone, for example, that was lithology. Lithology is important to many fields that involve breaking through layers of rock and sediment, including archaeology and all types of constructions and mining.