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Earth Science

Rocks and the Rock Cycle

What is a rock?

A rock is a solid made up of a bunch of different minerals. Rocks are generally not uniform or made up of exact structures that can be described by scientific formulas. Scientists generally classify rocks by how they were made or formed. There are three major types of rocks: Metamorphic, Igneous, and Sedimentary.
The Rock Cycle

Rocks are constantly changing in what is called the rock cycle. It takes millions of years for rocks to change.

Here is an example of the rock cycle describing how a rock can change from igneous to sedimentary to metamorphic over time.

Rock cycle example


1. Melted rock or magma is sent to the earth's surface by a volcano. It cools and forms an igneous rock.
2. Next the weather, or a river, and other events will slowly break up this rock into small pieces of sediment.
3. As sediment builds up and hardens over years, a sedimentary rock is formed.
4. Slowly this sediment rock will get covered with other rocks and end up deep in the Earth's crust.
5. When the pressure and heat get high enough, the sedimentary rock will metamorphose into a metamorphic rock and the cycle will start over again.

One thing to note is that rocks don't need to follow this specific cycle. They may change from one type to another and back again in practically any order.

Space Rocks

There are actually some rocks that come from space called meteorites. They may have different elements or mineral make up than a typical earth rock. Typically they are made up mostly of iron.

Interesting Facts about Rocks
Activities

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Earth Science Subjects

Geology
Composition of the Earth
Rocks
Minerals
Plate Tectonics
Erosion
Fossils
Glaciers
Soil Science
Mountains
Topography
Volcanoes
Earthquakes
The Water Cycle
Geology Glossary and Terms

Nutrient Cycles
Food Chain and Web
Carbon Cycle
Oxygen Cycle
Water Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
Atmosphere and Weather
Atmosphere
Climate
Weather
Wind
Clouds
Dangerous Weather
Hurricanes
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Weather Forecasting
Seasons
Weather Glossary and Terms

World Biomes
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Savanna
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Tropical Rainforest
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Taiga Forest
Marine
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Environmental Issues
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Air Pollution
Water Pollution
Ozone Layer
Recycling
Global Warming

Renewable Energy Sources
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Geothermal Energy
Hydropower
Solar Power
Wave and Tidal Energy
Wind Power

Other
Ocean Waves and Currents
Ocean Tides
Tsunamis
Ice Age
Forest Fires
Phases of the Moon


Science >> Earth Science for Kids





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