This laboratory study of a variably mineralized and hydrothermally altered granite outcrop investigated the influences of rock-surface chemistry and heavy metal content on resident bacterial populations. Results indicated that elevated heavy metal concentrations had a profound impact on bacterial community structure, with strong relationships found between certain ribotypes and particular chemical/heavy metal elements. Automated ribosomal intergenic sequence analysis (ARISA) was used to assess the nature and extent of bacterial diversity, and this was combined with chemical analysis and multivariate statistics to identify the main geochemical factors influencing bacterial community structure. A randomization test revealed significant changes in bacterial structure between samples, while canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) related each individual ARISA profile to linear combinations of the chemical variables (mineralogy, major element and heavy metal concentrations) revealing the geochemical factors that correlated with changes in the ARISA data. ANOVA was performed to further explore interactions between individual ribotypes and chemical/heavy metal composition, and revealed that a high proportion of ribotypes correlated significantly with heavy metals.