The Rock Cycle:


The 'Rock Cycle' diagram on page 6 of the ESRT is a wonderful example of how to take a simple idea and make it look much more complicated than it really is. The basic idea is this: "Any kind of rock can become any other kind of rock".


This (right) is the rock cycle diagram that appears on page 6 of the ESRT. If you look carefully you will notice that there is only 1 path leading into each rock type but there are 3 paths out.

For example: The only path into igneous rock is "MAGMA - Solidification". This means that when magma solidifies it becomes an igneous rock. But there are three paths out of igneous leading to sedimentary, metamorphic, and also back to igneous because igneous rock can become any other kind of rock.

All this means that any type of rock may undergo any process leading to any other kind of rock. That's why this is a cycle. Rocks are constantly being recycled and changed into other kinds of rocks.

This (left) is the same diagram in a more simplified format. Once again it says that 'any kind of rock can become any other kind of rock'. The processes leading to each kind are the same as in the ESRT version but the new version includes the two ways sedimentary rocks can form.

You should know and understand the processes and the vocabulary.

      'New Rock Cycle Diagram' (large format)

Practice Rock Cycle Questions

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