Rock Cycle Definition and Meaning
What is Rock Cycle?
The rock cycle or lithological cycle refers to the description of the geological processes that rocks go through to transform into one of these three types of rock: igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic.
This cycle indicates the geological time it takes for rocks to transform, and this is because rocks are forced to change because they are linked to other cycles, such as the water cycle or the movements of tectonic plates.
It should be noted that rocks are solid materials made up of minerals and that most of the Earth is made up of them, for this reason rocks are considered to have an important role in the balance of nature.
Development of the rock cycle
The rock cycle is of utmost importance because it has to do directly with the internal and external processes through which rocks and the materials that make up the Earth pass.
Igneous or magmatic rocks
The development of the rock cycle begins when volcanoes push magma out of the Earth, which contains a series of melted minerals that, when cooled, generate crystalline structures and together form igneous rocks.
On the other hand, igneous rocks can also form below the soil surface in cases where magma fails to escape. In this case, the magma cools slowly, the rock forms and together with the movements of the earth’s layers it rises until you reach the surface.
Therefore, igneous rocks can be formed in two ways, both on the surface and in the inner layers of the soil.
Then, depending on where the igneous rocks are located and after the effects of erosion, water and wind, these rocks wear out and fragment to form fine rocky sediments.
Among these rocks are volcanic rocks and plutonic rocks.
Sedimentary rocks are formed from the sum of the remains of rocky sediments that remain on the soil surface of igneous rocks, due to erosion and other effects of nature, more than the remains of living things accumulated in the layers of the Earth through time.
These rocks are of utmost importance, especially for various scientific studies since, being composed of fossil remains, they provide important information about life on Earth and its composition.
Sedimentary rocks include dendritic rocks, chemical rocks, and organic rocks.
Metamorphic rocks are derived from sedimentary rocks.
They are formed when sedimentary rocks are deposited in the layers of the earth’s crust, along with the rest of other rocks, either by the action of water, if they are found in rivers or seas, by the movements of tectonic plates, among others. .
When these rocks are between the various layers of earth, a change in their structures occurs thanks to high pressure and high temperatures. In this way sedimentary rocks are transformed into metamorphic rocks.
These rocks can be found after large soil erosions. Otherwise, being under several layers of earth, at high temperatures and pressure, they dissolve and then are expelled, again, after the explosion of a volcano like igneous rocks, repeating the cycle.
Some types of metamorphic rocks are foliated and unfolded rocks.