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The Rock Cycle

A summary with basic terms of the rock cycle for middle school students

Tracy Stachnik

on 13 April 2016

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Transcript of The Rock Cycle

The Rock Cycle
Begins as magma, a liquid and complex mixture of minerals.
3 ways magma forms: heating a rock, releasing pressure on a rock, or changing the composition of a rock.
The rate of cooling changes the composition and texture of igneous rocks.
Magma that reaches the earth's surface is called lava.
Quick cooling lava/magma forms fine-grained igneous rocks
Slow cooling lava/magma forms course-grained igneous rocks.
Igneous Rocks
Created when erosion and weathering breaks down rocks into sediment.
Sediments are transported by water or wind and then deposited in layers.
Layering sediments over time causes compaction.
Dissolved minerals passing through compacted layers cements layers together into rock.
Sedimentary rock forms at or near the Earth's surface.
Layers are called strata and can differ from each other by kind, size and color of sediment.
Sedimentary Rocks
Rocks that are changed in structure, texture or composition.
They are exposed to high temperature, high pressure or both.
High temperature melts the existing rock , between 50 - 1,000 degrees celsius.
High pressure squeezes the rock, below 2 km depth.
Movement in the earth's crust also causes changes to rocks, through temperature or pressure.
The metamorphosis causes new textures and structures to the rock.
Metamorphic Rocks
There are 3 types of rocks in the Rock Cycle: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic.
Igneous rocks are created when magma or lava crystallizes in the earth's crust.
Sedimentary rocks are created when rocks are weathered and/or eroded, then transported and deposited.
Metamorphic rocks are created when a rock is exposed to high pressure and high temperature causing realignment of minerals.
Igneous Rocks
When fluids (like water) combine with rock, the composition of the rock changes and can cause the rock to melt.
A rise in temperature can cause rocks to melt.
A change in pressure can cause rocks to melt.
This is a plutonic rock - granite.
Notice the large crystals formed
because the rock cooled slowly.
This is a volcanic rock - basalt.
It has small grains because it
cooled rapidly. The small lines
are formed during lava flow.
Sedimentary Rocks
3 kinds of Sedimentary Rock: clastic, organic and chemical.
Clastic-forms when mineral segments are cemented together. They are further classified by size of fragments (coarse, medium or fine grained).
Chemical-forms when minerals crystalize out of water or liquids. The liquid filters through and dissolves minerals in rock. Later, the water evaporates and deposits the rock.
Organic-forms from remains of animals and/or plants. They form over time as plants or animals fossilize, decompose (coal) or are cemented (fossiliferous limestone).
These rocks show horizontal
layering because they were
deposited on a lake bed.
These rocks were formed
in a desert. Wind blew sand
grains, forming dunes. The
dunes shifted due to wind and
were later solidified.
Metamorphic Rocks
The original rock, the protolith, is subjected to high heat & high pressure called metamorphism.
2 types of metamorphism: contact and regional
Contact-direct temperature or pressure from magma (igneous intrusions). Contact metamorphism increases temperatures causing melting of rock. This leads to change in composition of minerals.
Regional-pressure or frictional forces from depth or crustal collisions. Regional metamorphism occurs over hundreds of miles within the crust. This causes deformation on a large scale.
The temperature & pressure causes chemical & physical changes in the rock.
Pressure causes the minerals to realign or to fold until the rock is stable (can handle the increased pressure).
Increased temperature causes the minerals to change into more stable forms that can handle the new temperature.
This diagram illustrates
the location where the
types of metamorphism occurs.
A universal design lesson plan for the rock cycle.
Websites to use...
What causes rocks to melt?
2 types of igneous rocks; plutonic (intrusive) and volcanic (extrusive).
Intrusive rocks solidify in the earth's crust and cool slowly. This allows for large crystals to form.
Extrusive rocks solidify on the earth's crust and cool rapidly. This allows for small crystals to form.
Intrusive Formations
Batholith, Stock, Sill, Dike and Volcanic Neck
Extrusive Formations
Volcano, Fissure, Lava Plateau, Pa-hoe-hoe, Aa, Pillow lava, Blocky lava
Features indicate how the rocks are formed!
stratification = layering
ripple marks = water effects
mud cracks =
air exposure of fine grained sediments
impressions = animal, plant or precipitate marks
Foliations = planes or bands occur due to increased pressure
Non-foliations = recrystallization of minerals from increased pressures or temperatures
Rock Cycle Activity
What am I?
How old am I?
A, E: Granite
B, C, D: Sandstone
F: Sand
H: ?
J: Limestone
K: Mudstone
L: Gneiss
M: Marble
What kind of rock (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic) is each?
Use the Theory of Superposition to decide the oldest to the youngest rocks.
Youngest = ?

Oldest = ?
A/E (Granite), G (Basalt) are Igneous Rocks
B/C/D (Sandstone), J (Limestone), K(Mudstone)are Sedimentary Rocks
L (Gneiss), M (Marble) are Metamorphic Rocks
H is a fault!
The oldest to youngest rocks are E, G, L, C, H, M, D, J, A, N, K, B, F
H is a fault (not a rock!) and F is sand (not a rock)
Where are the erosion events?
Where are the tilting (metamorphic) events?
Full transcript