The acoustic vibrational spectra of impacted rock slabs were examined at the Denver Research Center, U.S. Bureau of Mines, in an attempt to characterize the behavior of partially detached mine roof rocks. The ultimate goal of this study was to develop a technique or instrument that could provide a quick, accurate, quantifiable measure of mine roof stability. The power spectra of unstable rock slabs were found to contain more energy in the range of 200 to 1,000 hz than solid rock. Comparison of the power contained between 500 and 1,000 hz with that between 3,000 and 3,500 hz provided a quantitative measure of rock stability. A lightweight prototype field instrument was designed, constructed, and field tested. This battery-powered instrument computes the power contained in the two frequency bands, compares their magnitude, and displays a number related to the stability of the block tested. Field tests showed the instrument provided reliable measurements of block stability even under conditions of noise that would have seriously degraded the accuracy of the standard methods of roof sounding.