The Rock Cycle Notes
Rock Cycle Overview
 There are three major classifications of rock, based on the method of their formation: igneous rock, metamorphic
rock and sedimentary rock. The rock cycle is the series of processes by which rocks are transformed from one type
to another and continually renewed.
 The origin of all rock can be ultimately traced back to the solidification of molten magma. Magma is a hot liquid
made of melted minerals and compounds commonly found in rocks.
Rock Cycle Processes
 The rock cycle is a model that describes how rocks are created, changed, and destroyed.
 There are three major types of rock: igneous rock, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rock.
 During the rock cycle, each type of rock may be changed into another type.
 The rock cycle also includes several different processes.
 Crystallization is the process by which magma cools and forms solid rock. Heat and pressure often change one type
of rock into another.
 Weathering, erosion, and deposition are the processes that break rock down into sediment at the Earth's surface.
Wind, rain, running water, and ice commonly take part is these processes.
 Compaction and cementation—also known as lithification—is the process of loose sediments being formed into
sedimentary rocks. And melting, of course, is the process that transforms solid rock back into liquid magma.
 The rock cycle is a process that takes hundreds of millions of years. But since it has operated continuously during
Earth's history, new rock at the Earth's surface is constantly replacing old rock.
Igneous Rock
 Igneous rock forms when magma and lava cool and make mineral crystals.
 Igneous rock is typically hard and is often glossy or shiny.
 Examples of igneous rock include granite, basalt, pumice, and obsidian.
 There are two basic types of igneous rock, which are classified by how they form: intrusive and extrusive.
Igneous Rock - Instrusive
 Intrusive igneous rock forms underground, within the Earth's crust or mantle, where magma cools slowly.
 Because it cools slowly, intrusive igneous rock typically has large mineral crystals.
Igneous Rock - Extrusive
 Extrusive igneous rock forms above ground, as lava and other materials that erupt from volcanoes cool quickly.
 Because they cool quickly, extrusive igneous rocks have small mineral crystals.
Sedimentary Rocks
 Weathering is the breakdown of rock by agents such as wind and water.
 Erosion is the transporting of the broken rock material, or sediments, to a new location, where it is deposited.
 Sediments may also contain plant and animal matter.
Sedimentary Rocks - Cementation
 Through the process of cementation, minerals from groundwater form between sediment grains, connecting the
grains together to form rock.
Sedimentary Rocks - Compaction
 As more sediment is deposited, it stacks up in layers. Eventually, the upper layers put pressure on the lower layers.
 This causes sediments to pack closer together in a process called compaction.
Sedimentary Rocks
 Sedimentary rocks often occur in distinct layers and sometimes contain fossils.
 Sedimentary rocks that are well-cemented hold together well, while poorly cemented rocks tend to crumble more
easily.
 Some common sedimentary rock types include sandstone, siltstone, and shale.
 Sedimentary rocks that form mainly from chemical processes include limestone and dolomite.
 Evaporites, such as rock salt, are sedimentary rocks that form when minerals are left behind by evaporating water.
Metamorphosis
 Metamorphosis means "transformation" or "change."
 Tectonic forces can push all types of rocks deeper into the Earth. These rocks are then subjected to extreme heat
and pressure.
 If the rocks do not become hot enough to melt, these conditions can causes the crystal structure and texture of the
rocks to change, forming a new kind of rock.
 Metamorphic rocks are rocks that form from other rocks under extreme heat and pressure.
Metamorphic Rocks - Foliated
 Some rocks have certain mineral grains that become flattened and line up in parallel planes or that separate into
light and dark compositional bands when exposed to heat and pressure.
 These scenarios result in foliated metamorphic rocks, such as slate, phyllite, schist, and gneiss.
Metamorphic Rocks - Nonfoliated
 Metamorphic rocks without these planes or bands are nonfoliated.
 Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock that forms from the sedimentary rock limestone.
 Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that forms from quartz sandstone

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