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  • 1. By: Nikki Frye
  • 2. What is the Rock Cycle?  The concept of the rock cycle is attributed to James Hutton (1726—1797), the 18th-century founder of modern geology.  The main idea is that rocks are continually changing from one type to another and back again, as forces inside the earth bring them closer to the surface (where they are weathered, eroded, and compacted) and forces on the earth sink them back down (where they are heated, pressed, and melted). So the elements that make up rocks are never created or destroyed — instead, they are constantly being recycled.
  • 3. The Rock Cycle is a model that illustrates the origins of the three basic types of rock & the processes in which they form.  Sedimentary  Metamorphic  Igneous
  • 4. Sedimentary Rock  For thousands, even millions of years, little pieces of our earth have been eroded--broken down and worn away by wind and water. These little bits of our earth are washed downstream where they settle to the bottom of the rivers, lakes, and oceans. Layer after layer of eroded earth is deposited on top of each. These layers are pressed down more and more through time, until the bottom layers slowly turn into rock.
  • 5. Metamorphic Rock  Metamorphic rocks are rocks that have quot;morphedquot; into another kind of rock. These rocks were once igneous or sedimentary rocks. How do sedimentary and igneous rocks change? The rocks are under tons and tons of pressure, which fosters heat build up, and this causes them to change. If you exam metamorphic rock samples closely, you'll discover how flattened some of the grains in the rock are.
  • 6. Igneous Rock  Igneous rocks are formed either underground or above ground. Underground, they are formed when the melted rock, called magma, deep within the earth becomes trapped in small pockets. As these pockets of magma cool slowly underground, the magma becomes igneous rocks.  Igneous rocks are also formed when volcanoes erupt, causing the magma to rise above the earth's surface. When magma appears above the earth, it is called lava. Igneous rocks are formed as the lava cools above ground.
  • 7. How the Rock Cycle Works As you can see from the picture, sedimentary rocks are formed from burial and sedimentation. These rocks can then undergo deep burial & heating to become metamorphic rocks. Metamorphic rocks can be uplifted to the surface where they undergo weathering to eventually become sedimentary rocks or they can melt and the magma can undergo crystallization to become igneous rock.
  • 8. The Rock Cycle Continues  Everyday, little pieces of the mountain rock are worn away by water and wind.  Those pieces collect somewhere and are compressed into new sedimentary rocks, which will continue to change and reenter the cycle as different metamorphic rocks or as melted material that can form new igneous rock.  Then, the process will begin all over again.