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The Rock Cycle

Weathering & Erosion

What is it???

Weather and Erosion is were it all starts. Weathering is the process where the rock is dissolved, worn away or broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. There are mechanical, chemical and organic weathering processes.

Transport and Deposition

The erosional transport of material through the landscape is rarely continuous. Instead, we find that particles may undergo repeated cycles of entrainment, transport, and deposition. Transport depends on an appropriate balance of forces within the transporting medium.


Sedimentation is the tendency for particles in suspension to settle out of the fluid in which they are entrained, and come to rest against a barrier. This is due to their motion through the fluid in response to the forces acting on them: these forces can be due to gravity, centrifugal acceleration or electromagnetism.  

Compaction & Cementation

Compaction:happens when sediments are deeply buried, placing them under pressure because of the weight of overlying layers. This squashes the grains together more tightly.

Sedimentary Rock

The Sedimentary Rock has layers.
Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles (detritus) to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution.  

Burial, High Temperature & Pressure

Regional Metamorphism is the result of high pressures and elevated temperatures associated with deep burial in an orogenic belt.

Metamorphic Rock

As you can see in the photo that there are layers and mixtures of rocks pressured together. Over time a rock forms from different rocks.


The process that turns any rock into magma. Melting a rock requires extremely high temperatures, which only occur far beneath the earth's surface.  
Rock Melting
Can you imagine 'rock hard' rocks melting? That's what they do in the depths of the earth! Metamorphic rocks underground melt to become magma.

Magma from molten crust & mantle

The first question this raises is: what exactly is this "material from the inside"? On our planet, it's magma, fluid molten rock. This material is partially liquid, partially solid and partially gaseous. To understand where it comes from, we need to consider the structure of planet Earth.


Earth is divided into three general layers. The core is the superheated center, the mantle is the thick, middle layer, and the crust is the top layer on which we live. Magma originates in the lower part of the Earth’s crust and in the upper portion of the mantle. Most of the mantle and crust are solid, so the presence of magma iscrucial to understanding the geology and morphology of the mantle. Differences in temperature, pressure, and structural formations in the mantle and crust cause magma to form in different ways.  

Intrusive Igneous Rock

Intrusive Igneous Rock which form by the crystallization of magma at a depth within the Earth are called intrusive rocks. Intrusive rocks are characterized by large crystal sizes, i.e., their visual appearance shows individual crystals interlocked together to form the rock mass. The cooling of magma deep in the Earth is typically much slower than the cooling process at the surface, so larger crystals can grow. Rocks with visible crystals of roughly the same size are said to have a phanertitic texture.

Extrusive Igneous Rock

Igneous rocks are formed from the solidification of molten rock material. There are two basic types: 1) intrusive igneous rocks such as diorite, gabbro, granite and pegmatite that solidify below Earth's surface; and 2)extrusive igneous rocks such as andesite, basalt, obsidian, pumice, rhyolite and scoria that solidify on or above Earth's surface. Pictures and brief descriptions of some common igneous rock types are shown on this page.

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