Glg101 Lesson 1

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1. Describe the Rock Cycle. Be sure to include the different rock types and processes that occur within the cycle. Consider a hypothetical granite (igneous rock) and describe three possible pathways within the cycle (start each path with granite) The rock cycle helps us understand different parts of Earth System. It allows us to understand how sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, and Igneous Rocks use one another to not only form the Rock Cycle, but also other processes that are important to our planet. The rock cycle beings with hot magma, deep below the earth’s surface. Once the magma dries, crystallization occurs, and results in igneous rocks. Over time weathering occurs to the igneous rocks. Over time weathering takes over the igneous rocks. Sediments from the weathered rocks moves downward by running water, wind, waves, and many other erosional agents. The next step is lithification. The sediments become tightly packed down in the depths of earth and encounters massive amounts of pressure and heat. A metamorphic rock is now formed. When additional heat and pressure are applied to the metamorphic rock, it will melt and create magma, thus beginning the rock cycle over again. There are three possible pathways that begin with granite that can be followed to complete the rock cycle. Rather than weathering over time and creating sediments, the igneous rock can remain buried and be subjected to high temperature and massive amounts of pressure. When this happens, the igneous is immediately transformed into a metamorphic rock and is the first possible pathway. The second possible pathway once again begins with the igneous rock. Once it forms into a metamorphic rock with high temperatures and massive amounts of pressure, it can then form into sediment through uplift, weathering, transportation, and deposition. The last possible pathway begins with the igneous
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