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    3.1 The Rock Cycle – Physical Geology


    The rock components of the crust are slowly but constantly being changed from one form to another and the processes involved are summarized in the rock cycle (Figure 3.2). The rock cycle is driven by two forces: (1) Earth’s internal heat engine, which moves material around in the core and the mantle and leads to slow but significant changes within the crust, and (2) the hydrological cycle, which is the movement of water, ice, and air at the surface, and is powered by the sun.

    The rock cycle is still active on Earth because our core is hot enough to keep the mantle moving, our atmosphere is relatively thick, and we have liquid water. On some other planets or their satellites, such as the Moon, the rock cycle is virtually dead because the core is no longer hot enough to drive mantle convection and there is no atmosphere or liquid water.

    Figure 3.2 A schematic view of the rock cycle. [SE]

    In describing the rock cycle, we can start anywhere we like, although it’s convenient to start with magma. As we’ll see in more detail below, magma is rock that is hot to the point of being entirely molten. This happens at between about 800° and 1300°C, depending on the composition and the pressure, onto the surface and cool quickly (within seconds to years) — forming extrusive igneous rock (Figure 3.3).

    Figure 3.3 Magma forming pahoehoe basalt at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii [SE]

    Magma can either cool slowly within the crust (over centuries to millions of years) — forming intrusive igneous rock, or erupt onto the surface and cool quickly (within seconds to years) — forming extrusive igneous rock. Intrusive igneous rock typically crystallizes at depths of hundreds of metres to tens of kilometres below the surface. To change its position in the rock cycle, intrusive igneous rock has to be uplifted and exposed by the erosion of the overlying rocks.

    Through the various plate-tectonics-related processes of mountain building, all types of rocks are uplifted and exposed at the surface. Once exposed, they are weathered, both physically (by mechanical breaking of the rock) and chemically (by weathering of the minerals), and the weathering products — mostly small rock and mineral fragments — are eroded, transported, and then deposited as sediments. Transportation and deposition occur through the action of glaciers, streams, waves, wind, and other agents, and sediments are deposited in rivers, lakes, deserts, and the ocean.


    Exercise 3.1 Rock around the Rock-Cycle clock

    Referring to the rock cycle (Figure 3.2), list the steps that are necessary to cycle some geological material starting with a sedimentary rock, which then gets converted into a metamorphic rock, and eventually a new sedimentary rock.

    A conservative estimate is that each of these steps would take approximately 20 million years (some may be less, others would be more, and some could be much more). How long might it take for this entire process to be completed?

    Figure 3.4 Cretaceous-aged marine sandstone overlying mudstone, Gabriola Island, B.C. [SE]

    Unless they are re-eroded and moved along, sediments will eventually be buried by more sediments. At depths of hundreds of metres or more, they become compressed and cemented into sedimentary rock. Again through various means, largely resulting from plate-tectonic forces, different kinds of rocks are either uplifted, to be re-eroded, or buried deeper within the crust where they are heated up, squeezed, and changed into metamorphic rock.

    Figure 3.5 Metamorphosed and folded Triassic-aged limestone, Quadra Island, B.C. [SE]

    Source : opentextbc.ca

    The Rock Cycle

    The rock cycle is a series of processes that create and transform the types of rocks in Earth’s crust.



    The Rock Cycle

    The rock cycle is a series of processes that create and transform the types of rocks in Earth’s crust.


    Chemistry, Earth Science, Geology


    Reunion Island Volcano

    Active volcanoes like this one on Reunion Island—east of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean—forms a type of igneous rock. Extrusive, or volcanic, igneous rocks are formed when molten hot material cools and solidifies.


    There are three main types of rocks: sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. Each of these rocks are formed by physical changes—such as melting, cooling, eroding, compacting, or deforming—that are part of the rock cycle.

    Sedimentary Rocks

    Sedimentary rocks are formed from pieces of other existing rock or organic material. There are three different types of sedimentary rocks: clastic, organic (biological), and chemical. Clastic sedimentary rocks, like sandstone, form from clasts, or pieces of other rock. Organic sedimentary rocks, like coal, form from hard, biological materials like plants, shells, and bones that are compressed into rock.

    The formation of clastic and organic rocks begins with the weathering, or breaking down, of the exposed rock into small fragments. Through the process of erosion, these fragments are removed from their source and transported by wind, water, ice, or biological activity to a new location. Once the sediment settles somewhere, and enough of it collects, the lowest layers become compacted so tightly that they form solid rock.

    Chemical sedimentary rocks, like limestone, halite, and flint, form from chemical precipitation. A chemical precipitate is a chemical compound—for instance, calcium carbonate, salt, and silica—that forms when the solution it is dissolved in, usually water, evaporates and leaves the compound behind. This occurs as water travels through Earth’s crust, weathering the rock and dissolving some of its minerals, transporting it elsewhere. These dissolved minerals are precipitated when the water evaporates.

    Metamorphic Rocks

    Metamorphic rocks are rocks that have been changed from their original form by immense heat or pressure. Metamorphic rocks have two classes: foliated and nonfoliated. When a rock with flat or elongated minerals is put under immense pressure, the minerals line up in layers, creating foliation. Foliation is the aligning of elongated or platy minerals, like hornblende or mica, perpendicular to the direction of pressure that is applied. An example of this transformation can be seen with granite, an igneous rock. Granite contains long and platy minerals that are not initially aligned, but when enough pressure is added, those minerals shift to all point in the same direction while getting squeezed into flat sheets. When granite undergoes this process, like at a tectonic plate boundary, it turns into gneiss (pronounced “nice”).

    Nonfoliated rocks are formed the same way, but they do not contain the minerals that tend to line up under pressure and thus do not have the layered appearance of foliated rocks. Sedimentary rocks like bituminous coal, limestone, and sandstone, given enough heat and pressure, can turn into nonfoliated metamorphic rocks like anthracite coal, marble, and quartzite. Nonfoliated rocks can also form by metamorphism, which happens when magma comes in contact with the surrounding rock.

    Igneous Rocks

    Igneous rocks (derived from the Latin word for fire) are formed when molten hot material cools and solidifies. Igneous rocks can also be made a couple of different ways. When they are formed inside of the earth, they are called intrusive, or plutonic, igneous rocks. If they are formed outside or on top of Earth’s crust, they are called extrusive, or volcanic, igneous rocks.

    Granite and diorite are examples of common intrusive rocks. They have a coarse texture with large mineral grains, indicating that they spent thousands or millions of years cooling down inside the earth, a time course that allowed large mineral crystals to grow.

    Alternatively, rocks like basalt and obsidian have very small grains and a relatively fine texture. This happens because when magma erupts into lava, it cools more quickly than it would if it stayed inside the earth, giving crystals less time to form. Obsidian cools into volcanic glass so quickly when ejected that the grains are impossible to see with the naked eye.

    Extrusive igneous rocks can also have a vesicular, or “holey” texture. This happens when the ejected magma still has gases inside of it so when it cools, the gas bubbles are trapped and end up giving the rock a bubbly texture. An example of this would be pumice.

    chemical Noun

    molecular properties of a substance.

    clast Noun

    fragment of a rock, often broken off through weathering.

    compact Verb

    to pack tightly together.

    cooling Verb

    to become cool lose heat or warmth

    cycle Noun

    regularly occurring event that repeats over a period of time.

    deform Verb

    to put out of shape or distort.

    Source : education.nationalgeographic.org

    How Do Metamorphic Rocks Reach Earth’S Surface??

    How Do Metamorphic Rocks Reach Earth’s Surface?? Metamorphic rocks are eventually exposed at the surface by uplift and erosion of the overlying rock. There are two main types of metamorphism: regional metamorphism and contact or thermal metamorphism. Metamorphic rocks are categorised by texture and mineralogy. How does rock move up to Earth’s surface? The most …


    How Do Metamorphic Rocks Reach Earth’S Surface??

    February 17, 2022 2 7 minutes read Table of Contents

    How Do Metamorphic Rocks Reach Earth’s Surface??

    Metamorphic rocks are eventually exposed at the surface by uplift and erosion of the overlying rock. There are two main types of metamorphism: regional metamorphism and contact or thermal metamorphism. Metamorphic rocks are categorised by texture and mineralogy.

    How does rock move up to Earth’s surface?

    The most familiar way for magma to escape or extrude to Earth’s surface is through lava. Lava eruptions can be “fire fountains” of liquid rock or thick slow-moving rivers of molten material.

    How do igneous and metamorphic rocks come to Earth’s surface?

    Metamorphic rocks are sedimentary or igneous rocks that have been transformed by pressure heat or the intrusion of fluids. The heat may come from nearby magma or hot water intruding via hot springs. It can also come from subduction when tectonic forces draw rocks deep beneath the Earth’s surface.

    How do metamorphic rocks change into sedimentary rocks?

    Explanation: Weathering is the process of breakdown of rocks through the action of wind air water and by the action of organisms. The metamorphic rocks get gradually converted into sedimentary rocks through this process. The big rocks change into small rock particles called sediments.

    How does a metamorphic rock become an igneous rock?

    If the newly formed metamorphic rock continues to heat it can eventually melt and become molten (magma). When the molten rock cools it forms an igneous rock. Metamorphic rocks can form from either sedimentary or igneous rocks.

    How do metamorphic rocks differ from igneous and sedimentary rocks?

    Thus The difference is that: Sedimentary rocks are usually formed under water when grains of broken rocks are glued together while igneous rocks form when melted rock (magma or lava) cools and metamorphic are rocks that once were igneous or sedimentary rocks but have been changed by pressure and temperature.

    How can uplift of metamorphic rocks during mountain building lead to the formation of sedimentary rocks?

    Sedimentary. Why does uplifting metamorphic rocks during mountain building lead to the formation of sedimentary rocks? Because the rocks become exposed to the elements and erode.

    What two processes cause igneous rocks to change into metamorphic rocks?

    Metamorphic rocks: form by recrystallization of either igneous or sedimentary rocks. This happens when the temperature pressure or fluid environment change and a rock changes its form (e.g. limestone turns to marble). The range of temperatures for metamophism is 150C up to the melting temperature.

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    How does a metamorphic rock become sedimentary quizlet?

    First it becomes Metamorphic Rock through heat and pressure. Then the Metamorphic Rock becomes Magma through melting. … First through weathering and erosion it becomes Sedimentary Rock. Then through weathering and erosion (again) it becomes Sediment.

    Which set of processes can transform metamorphic rock into sediment?

    What combination of processes can transform a metamorphic rock to sediments? Erosion crystallization and melting.

    How igneous sedimentary and metamorphic rocks are formed?

    Igneous rocks form when molten rock (magma or lava) cools and solidifies. Sedimentary rocks originate when particles settle out of water or air or by precipitation of minerals from water. … Metamorphic rocks result when existing rocks are changed by heat pressure or reactive fluids such as hot mineral-laden water.

    How does the rock cycle affect the earth?

    Over many thousands of years energy from the Sun moves the wind and water at the Earth’s surface with enough force to break rocks apart into sand and other types of sediment. When sediment is buried and cemented together it becomes a sedimentary rock such as sandstone or shale.

    How can a metamorphic rock transform into an extrusive igneous rock Brainly?

    Metamorphic rocks underground melt to become magma. When a volcano erupts magma flows out of it. (When magma is on the earth’s surface it is called lava.) As the lava cools it hardens and becomes igneous rock.

    Where do most metamorphic processes take place?

    deep underground

    Most metamorphic processes take place deep underground inside the earth’s crust. During metamorphism protolith chemistry is mildly changed by increased temperature (heat) a type of pressure called confining pressure and/or chemically reactive fluids.

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    How are igneous and metamorphic rocks similar?

    Among these igneous and metamorphic rocks share the following similarities: Both of them are types of rocks. Temperature is a key factor in the formation of both types of rocks. … Both igneous and metamorphic rocks are part of the rock cycle and can transform into other types of rocks over time.

    What are the main factors of the formation of metamorphic rocks?

    Metamorphic rocks form when rocks are subjected to high heat high pressure hot mineral-rich fluids or more commonly some combination of these factors. Conditions like these are found deep within the Earth or where tectonic plates meet.

    Source : realonomics.net

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