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What are the 3 basic types of rocks?

Just as any person can be put into one of two main categories of human being, all rocks can be put into one of three fundamentally different types of rocks. They are as follows: Igneous Rocks Igneous rocks are crystalline solids which form directly from the cooling of magma. This is an exothermic process (it loses heat) and involves a phase change from the liquid to the solid state. The earth is made of igneous rock - at least at the surface where our planet is exposed to the coldness of space. Igneous rocks are given names based upon two things: composition (what they are made of) and texture (how big the crystals are) How do composition and texture relate to igneous rocks? Igneous rocks are crystalline solids which cool from magma: the liquid phase of solid rock. Magmas occur at depth in the crust, and are said to exist in "magma chambers," a rather loose term indicating an area where the temperature is great enough to melt the rock, and the pressure is low enough to allow the material to expand and exist in the liquid state. Many different types of igneous rocks can be produced. The key factors to use in determining which rock you have are the rock's texture and composition. Texture Texture relates to how large the individual mineral grains are in the final, solid rock. In most cases, the resulting grain size depends on how quickly the magma cooled. In general, the slower the cooling, the larger the crystals in the final rock. Because of this, we assume that coarse grained igneous rocks are "intrusive," in that they cooled at depth in the crust where they were insulated by layers of rock and sediment. Fine grained rocks are called "extrusive" and are generally produced through volcanic eruptions. Grain size can vary greatly, from extremely coarse grained rocks with crystals the size of your fist, down to glassy material which cooled so quickly that there are no mineral grains at all. Coarse grain varieties (with mineral grains large enough to see without a magnifying glass) are called phaneritic. Granite and gabbro are examples of phaneritic igneous rocks. Fine grained rocks, where the individual grains are too small to see, are called aphanitic. Basalt is an example. The most common glassy rock is obsidian. Obviously, there are innumerable intermediate stages to confuse the issue. Composition

The other factor is composition: the elements in the magma directly affect which minerals are formed when the magma cools. Again, we will describe the extremes, but there are countless intermediate compositions. (Composition relates to the mafic and felsic terms discussed in another question. If these terms are confusing, please refer to that discussion before continuing.) The composition of igneous magmas is directly related to where the magma is formed. Magmas associated with crustal spreading are generally mafic, and produce basalt if the magma erupts at the surface, or gabbro if the magma never makes it out of the magma chamber. It is important to remember that basalt and gabbro are two different rocks based purely on textural differences - they are compositionally the same. Intermediate and felsic magmas are associated with crustal compression and subduction. In these areas, mafic seafloor basalt and continental sediments are subducted back into the crust, where they re-melt. This allows the differentiation process to continue, and the resulting magma is enriched in the lighter elements. Intermediate magmas produce diorite (intrusive) and andesite (extrusive). Felsic magmas, the final purified result of the differentiation process, lead to the formation of granite (intrusive) or rhyolite (extrusive). What do the terms mafic and felsic mean? These are both made up words used to indicate the chemical composition of silicate minerals, magmas, and igneous rocks. Mafic is used for silicate minerals, magmas, and rocks which are relatively high in the heavier elements. The term is derived from using the MA from magnesium and the FIC from the Latin word for iron, but mafic magmas also are relatively enriched in calcium and sodium. Mafic minerals are usually dark in color and have relatively high specific gravities (greater than 3.0). Common rock-forming mafic mineralsinclude olivine, pyroxene, amphibole, biotite mica, and the plagioclase feldspars. Mafic magmas are usually produced at spreading centers, and represent material which is newly differentiated from the uppermantle. Common mafic rocks include basalt and gabbro. (Please note that some geologists with questionable motives switch the order of the magnesium and iron and come up with the term "femag." This term is not to be confused with Femag, the dullwitted henchman of the Diabolical Dr. Saprolite.) Felsic, on the other hand, is used for silicate minerals, magmas, and rocks which have a lower percentage of the heavier elements, and are correspondingly enriched in the lighter elements, such as silicon and oxygen, aluminum, and potassium. The term comes from FEL for feldspar (in this case the potassium-rich variety) and SIC, which indicates the higher percentage of silica. Felsic minerals are usually light in color and have specific gravities less than 3.0. Common felsic minerals

include quartz, muscovite mica, and the orthoclase feldspars. The most common felsic rock is granite, which represents the purified end product of the earth's internal differentiation process.
CRUSTAL SPREADING

There are really only two processes: one that forms the physical earth, and another that beats up the surface and tears it apart through weathering and erosion. The formational process is called tectonics, and is manifested to those of us living on earth by earthquakes, volcanos, and mountain building in general. The earth is really just a sphere of liquid rock (magma) which has cooled to the solid state where exposed to the coldness of space. We call this cold and rigid outer shell the crust, and it is actually rather thin in comparison to the overall diameter of our planet. Because of the heat and pressure beneath the surface, this crust is constantly being subjected to stresses which break it up. The earth's crustal sections are called plates, and they vary from small to continental in size. Immense forces cause these rigid plates to slowly move about the surface, where they are constantly running into each other. Tectonic activity is common at these plate boundaries, of which there are three basic types: Spreading centers occur where two plates are moving away from each other, and deep cracks are opened through the crust. This lengthening of the crust allows magma from the upper mantle to rise to the surface and cool, commonly forming basalt. An excellent example is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The crust at these "zones of divergence" is thin and has a high heat flow, so volcanic activity is persistent and earthquakes are relatively small. Click here for more information on zones of extensional tectonics. Subduction zones are associated with regions where two plates are moving towards each other, and the crust of the earth is shortened. An example is where the western edge of South America meets the Pacific Ocean. In this case, the collision is between acontinental plate and an oceanic plate, and a subduction zone forms where the heavier oceanic basalt is forced beneath the lighter continental materials along a deep trench. This involves lots of rock being taken back down into the earth, where it can melt. This leads to a very active volcanic environment. The crust is much thicker here, and so earthquakes are also stronger. For these and a variety of other

reasons, some of the most intense earthquake and volcanic activity is associated with these zones of compression
Elements & minerals common to various magmas

Ultramafic magmas Olivine - Mg2SiO4 to Fe2SiO4 Pyroxene - Ca(Mg,Fe,Al)(Al,Si)2O6

Mafic (basaltic) magmas Olivine - Mg2SiO4 to Fe2SiO4 Pyroxene - Ca(Mg,Fe,Al)(Al,Si)2O6 Plagioclase - CaAlSi3O8 to NaAlSi3O8

Intermediate magmas Plagioclase - CaAlSi3O8 to NaAlSi3O8 Amphibole - NaCa2(Mg,Fe,Al)5(Si,Al)8O22(OH)2 Muscovite/Biotite - KAl2(Si3Al)O10(OH)2 Quartz - SiO2

Igneous Rock Classification


Texture vs. composition

Felsic Aphanitic
fine grain

Intermediate
Andesite

Mafic
Basalt

Ultramafic
Conditions needed to produce ultramafic flows do not exist in nature at this time.

Rhyolite

Intermediate Phaneritic
coarse grain

Dacite

Diabase

Granite Obsidian Pumice

Diorite

Gabbro

Peridotite

Glassy Frothy

Scoria

It is important to note that there are many, many intermediate steps between these main divisions. Geology is a science full of "shades of gray," and the naming of igneous rocks is certainly no exception

hat are the most important types of rock in the crust? Excluding the rocks between my ears, I'd have to say that basalt and granite have the honor of being the most important rocks in the crust. Basalt and granite actually have quite a bit in common. Both are igneous rocks, which means that they cooled from a magma (the earth gets very hot just below the surface, and there is lots of liquid rock available). Both are made up of minerals from the silicate group, so both have large amounts of silicon and oxygen. Both will hurt if you drop a big piece on your toe. But there are several important differences, too. These differences help define and explain how the earth works. Granite is great stuff! Not only is it my personal favorite, it is without a doubt the most common rock type on the continental land masses. Yosemite Valley in the

Sierra Nevada and Mt. Rushmore are two notable examples of granitic rocks. But granitic "basement rock" can be found just about everywhere east of the Rockies if you're willing to dig through the dirt and sedimentary rocks at the surface. Granite is intrusive, which means that the magma was trapped deep in the crust, and probably took a very long time to cool down enough to crystallize into solid rock. This allows the minerals which form plenty of time to grow, and results in a coarse-textured rock in which individual mineral grains are easily visible. Granite is the ultimate silicate rock. As discussed elsewhere in greater detail, on average oxygen and silicon account for 75% of the earth's crust. The remaining 25% is split among several other elements, with aluminum and potassium contributing the most to the formation of the continental granitic rocks. Relatively small amounts of iron and magnesium occur, but since they have generally higher densities it's not surprising that there isn't very much in the granite. Due to the process of differentiation, most of the heavier elements are moving towards the core of the earth, allowing the silicon and oxygen to accumulate on the surface. And accumulate it has. Enough granitic "scum" has differentiated to the surface to cover 25% to 30% of the earth with the good stuff. We call this purified material felsic because of the relatively high percentage of silica and oxygen. Basalt is extrusive. The magma from which it cools breaks through the crust of the earth and erupts on the surface. We call these types of events volcanic eruptions, and there are several main types. Thevolcanoes that make basalt are very common, and tend to form long and persistent zones of rifting in nearly all of the ocean basins. We now believe that these undersea volcanic areas represent huge spreading ridges where the earth's crust is separating. It's a lot like a cut on your arm, which will bleed until a scab forms. Basaltic magma is like the blood of the earth - it's what comes out when the earth's skin is cut the whole way through. As an eruption ends, the basalt "scab" heals the wound in the crust, and the earth adds some new seafloor crust. Because the magma comes out of the earth (and often into water) it cools very quickly, and the minerals have very little opportunity to grow. Basalt is commonly very fine grained, and it is nearly impossible to see individual minerals without magnification. Basalt is considered a mafic silicate rock. Among other characteristics, mafic minerals and rocks are generally dark in color and high in specific gravity. This is in large part due to the amount of iron, magnesium, and several other relatively heavy elements which "contaminate" the silica and oxygen. But this heavy stuff really isn't happy near the surface, and will take any opportunity it can to head for deeper levels. The trick is to heat the basalt back up again so it can melt and give the iron another shot at the core. It wants to be there, and heat is the key which unlocks the door. As it turns out, most of the ocean floor is basalt, and most of the continents are granite. Basaltic crust is dark and thin and heavy, while granite is light and

accumulates into continent-sized rafts which bob about like corks in this "sea of basalt." When a continent runs into a piece of seafloor, it's much like a Mac truck running into a Volkswagon. Not very pretty, but at least there's a clear winner. And the seafloor basalt ends up in pretty much the same position as does the VW under the truck (or continent, as the case may be). This may seem like a drag for the basalt, but remember that it isn't all that happy on the surface anyway, and this gives it the heat it needs to re-melt and try to complete the differentiation process which was so rudely interrupted at the spreading ridge. If successful and allowed to continue, what's left behind is a "purified" magma with most of the iron, magnesium, and other heavy elements removed. When it cools, guess what forms? And the continental land mass just got a wee bit larger.

Felsic (granitic) magmas Potash Feldspar - KAlSi3O8 Quartz - SiO2 Muscovite/Biotite - KAl2(Si3Al)O10(OH)2 Amphibole - NaCa2(Mg,Fe,Al)5(Si,Al)8O22(OH)2 What is Differentiation? It is my humble opinion that differentiation is one of the primary driving forces of our planet, so pay attention. To understand the process we have to begin by agreeing on several assumptions: 1. Different earth materials have different densities. 2. Given a chance, all materials will sort themselves by density, with the heavier material sinking and the lighter material rising. 3. The interior of the earth is not a "solid" as we understand the term, but rather in a semi-plastic state which allows ions to migrate (more or less) at will. 4. The earth's interior is zoned by density, with the heaviest material at the center (the core), and the lightest stuff floating about at the surface (the crust).

Differentiation is this separation process. Differentiation has been taking place since the formation of our planet 4.6 billion years ago, and is still occurring today. It will continue until one of two things happen: 1. The process is complete and ALL earth materials have sorted themselves relative to all other materials, or... 2. The earth's internal heat drops to a point where the earth is so solid that further ion migration is impossible and the remaining material is essentially frozen in place. In this scenario the earth is basically cold and dead. I like the second choice as the one which will finally stop the differentiation process, although this is probably so far in the future that the earth will have plenty of time to float a bunch more light stuff to the surface. Please note that when the earth dies internally, external (surface) death cannot be far behind, at least for life-forms which exist on land. From a regional point of view, there are really only two earth processes: tectonic forces which build high spots, and surface weathering which tears them down. Over the course of geologic time, the two are in balance (at the local level one or the other is always winning). But, when the earth dies on the inside, so do the tectonic forces which keep making landforms which stick up above the ocean. In very short order the land surface will be eroded to wave base, and we will all have to learn the backstroke!

Sedimentary Rocks In most places on the surface, the igneous rocks which make up the majority of the crust are covered by a thin veneer of loose sediment, and the rock which is made as layers of this debris get compacted and cemented together. Sedimentary rocks are called secondary, because they are often the result of the accumulation of small pieces broken off of pre-existing rocks. There are three main types of sedimentary rocks: Clastic: your basic sedimentary rock. Clastic sedimentary rocks are accumulations of clasts: little pieces of broken up rock which have piled up and been "lithified" by compaction and cementation.

Chemical: many of these form when standing water evaporates, leaving dissolved minerals behind. These are very common in arid lands, where seasonal "playa lakes" occur in closed depressions. Thick deposits of salt and gypsum can form due to repeated flooding and evaporation over long periods of time. Organic: any accumulation of sedimentary debris caused by organic processes. Many animals use calcium for shells, bones, and teeth. These bits of calcium can pile up on the seafloor and accumulate into a thick enough layer to form an "organic" sedimentary rock. Introduction We've studied igneous rocks & the minerals of which they are composed Basement rocks Most are covered by a thin veneer of debris Consolidated into a "rock" through slow-acting processes Usually involving pressure and fluid penetration Relatively simple to understand Relatively near-surface processes As opposed to igneous & metamorphics, which usually occur at depth Secondary (or derived) rocks Several main categories Clastic sedimentary rocks - The classic sedimentary rock Accumulations of debris derived from the disintegration of pre-existing rocks DIGRESS TO: Terrigenous sediments Chemical sedimentary rocks - Chemical precipitates Usually as the result of the evaporation of water Ex. Salt (NaCl); Gypsum (CaSO4 2H2O) Organic sedimentary rocks

All hydrocarbons Coal, peat, oil, etc. The distinction between these three categories can get pretty fuzzy at times Ex. Limestone, chert Hard rocks vs. Soft rocks

Origin of Sedimentary Materials DIGRESS TO: Physical vs. Chemical weathering Click here for additional information on water, weathering, and erosion (RCC) Click here for additional information on surface processes (GPHS) Clasts - derived from physical (and chemical) weathering processes Smaller solid particles Derived directly from the source area Reflect lithology of the source area Wide range of sizes, from silt to boulders Chemical processes can result in the relative enrichment of more resistant (or inert) minerals Ex. quartz vs. feldspar Clay minerals I'm not a clay kind of guy Extremely complex mineralogy My understanding is minimal Easy to get confused by the term The term "clay" refers to both a size and a mineral family

A clast can be clay size without being clay DIGRESS TO: "clay the size" vs. "clay the mineral" Clay formation forms small, sheet-like minerals (look like the micas) Lots of different clay minerals Which mineral is formed reflects primary lithology and environment Can change to a different mineral if moved to a different environment Downslope? Downstream? Near-surface, low temperature environments Hot and humid works best Water is a universal solvent (HOH) Tends to work parallel to Bowen's Reaction Series The higher temperature minerals are more susceptible to chemical weathering Therefore, especially hard on the mafics and feldspar To repeat what was mentioned above Chemical processes can result in the relative enrichment of more resistant (or inert) minerals Ex. quartz vs. feldspar Describe "decomposed granite" Ions Chemical weathering also results in "ions" which are "held in solution" The solution is usually water Remember: Water is a universal solvent (HOH) and will play merry hell with anything "over the course of geologic time!" See Strickler's 3rd and 4th Laws of GeoFantasy Some elements will dissolve and be held in solution

Ex. salt, sugar DIGRESS TO: Solution (ions) vs. Suspension (clays) Both make fundamentally different types of sed. rocks Common ions include: Ca+2, Na+, CO3-2, ClDIGRESS TO: What do the superscripts mean? Atomic structure & the role of the electron These ions are responsible for the "mineral taste" in some water Therefore, we can tell that iron and sulfur must also be common If the amount of ions increases relative to the amount of water, minerals can precipitate Ex. salt (Na+ + Cl- -> NaCl) Saturation is the key An undersaturated solution can become oversaturated in 2 ways Increase the dissolved ions Decrease the solvent (water) This is more common (probably) Can be initiated by the evaporation process Organisms can also extract the ions directly from the water Use them to build shell material Ex.: Ca+2 + CO3-2 -> CaCO3 Can result in extensive deposition of calcium or silica sediments

Environments of Deposition (Monroe; fig. 7-3, pg. 202)

Water plays an important role in most aspects of sedimentary rocks From weathering and erosion to transportation and deposition DIGRESS TO: V=Q/A Deposition occurs in a wide variety of locations Basically, any low spot is a potential depositional environment On both regional and local level - expand Three major divisions - Continental deposition, marine deposition, and transitional (inter-tidal) Infinite possible combinations of environments and materials Results in infinite possible sedimentary rocks Fortunately, most fall into one of several common environments And as we already know from our study of igneous rocks, most of the rocks start with a similar chemistry It can still be tough to recognize the depositional environment DIGRESS TO: This is the ultimate goal of the study of sedimentary rocks The names are important, but only insofar as they provide clues to how they got there The interpretation of earth's history is the purpose of any geological examination In any event, this will usually take lots of field work And the examination of lots of different rocks As well as copious amounts of lubricant to make sense of the data! Multiple Working Hypotheses Need to keep an open mind Several working together with different ideas can be good As can a "Devil's Advocate" to keep the group from getting cocky.

It's far too easy to only see those units and/or features which support the currently favorable model Important factors include: Sorting - key to interpreting the depositional environment "The degree in similarity in particle size in a sediment" Important in the clastic sediments Particle size Important in the clastic sediments Particle composition Important in chemical and organic sediments

Sedimentary Rocks

General Statements We've studied igneous rocks & the minerals of which they are composed Basement rocks Most are covered by a thin veneer of debris Consolidated into a "rock" through slow-acting processes Usually involving pressure and fluid penetration Relatively simple to understand Relatively near-surface processes As opposed to igneous & metamorphics, which usually occur at depth Secondary (or derived) rocks Several main categories

Clastic sedimentary rocks - The classic sedimentary rock We will concentrate on this type Chemical sedimentary rocks - Chemical precipitates Usually as the result of the evaporation of water - Ex. Salt (NaCl) Organic sedimentary rocks Limestone, all hydrocarbons - Coal, peat, oil, etc.

Origin of Sedimentary Materials DIGRESS TO: Physical vs. Chemical weathering Clasts - derived from physical (and chemical) weathering processes Smaller solid particles Wide range of sizes, from silt to boulders Clay minerals Easy to get confused by the term The term "clay" refers to both a size and a mineral family A clast can be clay size without being clay Clay formation forms small, sheet-like minerals (look like the micas) Near-surface, low temperature environments Hot and humid works best - chemical weathering!! Note: chemical weathering also results in "ions" which are "held in solution" Can result in chemical sedimentary rocks Organisms can also extract the ions directly from the water Use them to build shell material - Ex.: Ca+2 + CO3-2 -> CaCO3 Can result in deposition of organic sediments

Environments of Deposition Water plays an important role in most aspects of sedimentary rocks From weathering and erosion to transportation and deposition DIGRESS TO: Q=AV Deposition occurs in a wide variety of locations Basically, any low spot is a potential depositional environment Two major divisions - Continental and marine Also there are inter-tidal (transitional) environmnets Important factors include: Sorting - The degree in similarity in particle size in a sediment Important in the clastic sediments Particle size Important in the clastic sediments Particle composition Important in chemical and organic sediments

Continental Deposition Sediments trapped on land Rivers and streams Riverbed - size directly related to energy of the stream Can be poorly sorted (all different sizes) or well sorted (all the same size) Floodplain - Flat surfaces adjacent to a river Represents sediments deposited during flooding

Usually well sorted Glaciers Non-turbulent flow (unlike rivers) Can and will carry all sizes of material Commonly poorly sorted, but not always! Lakebeds By nature a temporary feature A sure trap for sediments (because Q=AV) Evaporites - common to arid regions with seasonal lakes (playas) Ex.: Bonneville Salt Flats Alluvial Fans Generally arid and semi-arid climates Deltas Essentially an underwater alluvial fan Eolian Deposition Wind can also play a role in the erosion, transportation, and deposition of sediments Can affect wide areas Not confined to a defined channel like a river is Always well sorted (unless contaminated by other processes) Small stuff only - no boulders! Sand dunes

Marine Deposition

The seafloor is the final resting place for the majority of weathered rock materials Please refer to Strickler's 3rd Law of GeoFantasy Remember - "The earth breaks what it makes and puts it in the ocean" Factors affecting deposition include: Distance from shore Related to energy Depth of the water These result in 3 broad zones of deposition Relatively good sorting within each zone In general, the shore and shelf contain the majority of "terrigenous" sediments Gravel ---> Sand ---> Silt ---> Clay ---> Carbonate Ooze The Shore Zone The shore acts like a channel and restricts the "flow" of the ocean High energy zone Coarse sand and gravel are deposited here Smaller material stays in suspension/solution and moves offshore The Continental Shelf Much broader then the shore zone Most terrigenous sediments end up here (sooner or later) Mostly silt & clay Locally coarser material related to times of higher energy Carbonate deposits also common Inorganic and organic deposits of CaCO3 - Limestone Common to "shallow, warm water"

The Abyss - much of this ends up being subducted Mostly very fine grain sediments Water depth important in which is deposited Calcareous to siliceous to terrestrial clay ooze As depth increases and/or temperature decreases

Features of Sedimentary Rocks Stratification - the most common and distinctive Most sedimentary rocks are composed of particles which settle through water (or air) Generally quiet water deposition results in nearly horizontal layers Differences through time result in visible layering Variation in clast size Variation in clast composition/mineralization Special enhancements to visible layering Graded Bedding Cross Bedding Size and Roundness of the clasts Usually reflects transport distance and/or time in transit Long distance = smaller and rounder clasts Color Most igneous rocks are some shade of gray Sedimentary rocks can be quite colorful Different pigments can fill the void spaces between the clasts

Iron - very common Results in shades of red, brown, pink, or yellow Dark to black color commonly the result of organic material EXAMPLE: Black shale Fossils - the classic sedimentary feature Evidence of once-living organisms Characteristic of many sedimentary rocks Not igneous or metamorphic Most relate to remains of "hard body parts" (bones, shells, teeth) But any evidence is considered a fossil Soft body molds Footprints Coprolites Some amazing parts have been preserved Jellyfish, compound eye parts, dragonfly wings Clues to depositional environments EXAMPLE: Clam fossils pretty much indicate marine deposition, etc. Used to establish the Relative Time Scale

Conversion into Rock Lithification - "the process of converting soft, unconsolidated sediments into hard rock" Two major factors contribute to the lithification process Remember: we are usually starting with a loose pile of debris, which is saturated with water

Compaction Weight of overlying sediments results in compaction Reduction in pore space Interstitial fluids (water) may be removed Cementation - "The most significant process" "The deposition from solution of a soluble substance" Fills the interstitial pore spaces Cements the grains together Three common types of cement Calcium- Probably the most common Easily dissolved in groundwater H20 + CO2 = H2CO3 (Carbonic Acid) Will dissolve calcium and put it into solution Silica - less soluble than calcite Will form a much harder and stronger cement Iron Oxide (Fe2O3)

Facies Changes "Lateral change in the basic properties of a sedimentary horizon" DIGRESS TO: Time-Stratigraphic Horizons EXAMPLE: Conglomerate into sandstone into siltstone into shale Reflect local variations in the depositional environment DIAGRAM: on board Transgression / Regression

Unconformities The sedimentary record is not complete Long term gaps in the sedimentary record indicate periods of non-deposition and/or erosion We actually can see only a small part of the earth's history in sedimentary rocks The gaps clearly represent more time than do the beds themselves Three major types of unconformities Angular Unconformity Easiest to recognize - describe Non-parallel beds above and below Represents: deposition, uplift, deformation, erosion, subsidence, and new deposition Disconformity Parallel beds above and below Can be real tough to recognize Nonconformity Sedimentary beds overlying igneous or metamorphic rocks Represent immense time periods

Classification (types of sedimentary rocks) As we said, there are 3 general categories Clastic/fragmental; Chemical precipitates; and Organic Distinction between different types often fuzzy in reality Clastic Sedimentary Rocks - true secondary rocks

Derived from the breakdown of pre-existing rock at the surface of the crust Most sedimentary rocks are clastics Quick review: Surface weathering produces small clasts Physical and chemical processes As soon as a clast (at whatever size) is broken from bedrock, it is involved in the erosion and transport process Gravity is the ultimate driving force here Clasts moved downslope to creek/river systems Carried downstream to a suitable depositional environment Weathering can continue during transport Both physical and chemical Its reasonable to assume that physical weathering dominates in the headwaters at higher elevations Chemical weathering takes on a more active role at lower elevations Smaller clast size results in greater surface area for chemical attack Classification generally based on the size of the clasts Conglomerate - cemented gravel Usually poorly sorted, calcium or silica cement Sandstone - Sand-sized clasts Often interbedded with shale or conglomerate (facies changes) Indicate near shore marine - your basic beach Calcium or silica cement Which one is present determines hardness Friable - breaks up easily due to weak cement

Compositional differences Classic sandstone is generally quartz - final weathered product Graywacke - "dirty sandstone" Generally dark in color Quartz, feldspar, mafics, lithic fragments all present Indicates very short distance of transport Silt & clay sized clasts Lots of names based on size of clasts Siltstone, claystone, mudstone Shale works as a general descriptive name for most of them Usually impossible to determine composition of clasts due to small clast size Chemical sedimentary rocks Evaporites Result from the evaporation of water Halite (salt), Gypsum (sheetrock) Carbonates Limestone - calcite (CaCO3) Travertine Hot springs deposits Organic sedimentary rocks Hydrocarbons Coal - lithified plant and animal remains Compacted swamps, etc. Convert to coal in an anaerobic environment

Calcium based rocks Limestone the most common Most limestone is organic as opposed to chemical in origin Foraminifera Microscopic plants & animals extract CaCO3 from seawater and use it to build shells These will settle to the seafloor and accumulate into Limestone deposits Larger organisms also extract CaCO3 for shells which can accumulate on seafloor Coquina - lithified shell debris Can be reworked in the sea currents - broken and moved around Are these then clastic sedimentary deposits? Reefs Made largely of corals and carbonate secreting algae Like shallow, warm waters which are agitated by wave action High in nutrients (for food) Environment essentially free of terrigenous sediments Can result in extremely pure limestone deposits Commonly 30 of the equator Silica based rocks Chert - "general name used to cover many types of dense, hard, non-clastic, microcrystalline siliceous rocks" Flint - dark color from included organic remains Uniform texture - conchoidal fracture Jasper - reddish flint Sinter - hot springs (like travertine)

Thick beds of chert are found throughout the geologic record Some may result from direct chemical precipitation White smokers at spreading axes Most are thought to be organic (like the carbonates) Microscopic plants & animals extract silica from seawater and use it to build shells These will settle to the seafloor and accumulate into chert deposits

Metamorphic Rocks The metamorphics get their name from "meta" (change) and "morph" (form). Any rock can become a metamorphic rock. All that is required is for the rock to be moved into an environment in which the minerals which make up the rock become unstable and out of equilibrium with the new environmental conditions. In most cases, this involves burial which leads to a rise in temperature and pressure. The metamorphic changes in the minerals always move in a direction designed to restore equilibrium. Common metamorphic rocks include slate, schist, gneiss, and marble. Introduction As usual in geology, take big words apart meta = change morph = form ick = tough to study Talking about a change in mineralogy here Considered an "iso-chemical" process Essentially, nothing is added or lost at the elemental level Except for a subtle to profound loss of water Existing elements recombine into new minerals

Mineralogy ALWAYS changes in an attempt to restore equilibrium One of the only times in geology when you can use the word "always" Even toss the 1st Law of GeoFantasy? Start with any rock Subjected to different environment conditions Commonly due to burial, or subsidence of the crust due to tectonics Heat and pressure usually involved Difficult process to study Generally occurs at depth in the crust Impossible to observe directly Similar in this way to intrusive igneous rocks But generally far more complex But not too deep - usually "less than 20 kilometers" Higher temperatures at depth lead to complete re-melting and the formation of magma As always, this is a highly variable depth Subject to local irregularities Metamorphism is also considered to be a "solid-state" process All of this happens at temperatures below the melting point of the rocks! There are several factors which directly affect the process Rock chemistry Contained fluids Heat Pressure

Time There are infinite variations of these factors Results in a very complex suite of rocks! The study of metamorphic rocks can only take place after uplift, weathering, and erosion And long after the actual metamorphic processes have ended Can be real tough to determine the metamorphic history of a rock Including what it was originally! The metamorphics are without a doubt the toughest to understand We'll take a very broad look at them and just discuss the main categories

Factors involved in the metamorphic process Rock chemistry Metamorphism is an iso-chemical process Therefore, what you start with is extremely important The chemistry of the parent rock largely determines the composition of the resulting metamorphic rock This should be a real no-brainer Cook eggs and you get an omelette, not meatloaf Unless you add a bunch of new stuff But this is an iso-chemical process, so not much is added or lost Limestone alters to marble, not quartzite! Contained fluids Generally water and carbon dioxide

Similar to how volatiles affect magmas REVIEW: mafic to felsic The high volatile minerals tend to react early Release their volatile components Two things happen: The loose volatiles tend to act as a catalyst The best metamorphics are commonly derived from sedimentary rocks The resulting rock is generally decreased in the volatile components Heat Considered "the principle factor in the metamorphic process" If metamorphism requires that the elemental ions migrate and recombine... Ions diffuse easier at higher temperatures Therefore higher temperatures tend to increase both the speed and efficiency of the metamorphic process The increased heat directly affects the "strength" of the rock And locally affects the Brittle-Ductile Transition Zone (REVIEW) The resulting metamorphic rocks can be highly contorted, folded, and otherwise deformed plastically As a general rule: the higher the metamorphic grade the greater the plastic deformation DIGRESS TO: Metamorphic grade Obviously, there are all possible ranges of heat (metamorphic grade) From "just barely warm" to "just below the melting point" But, what is the melting point? REVIEW: Bowen's Reaction Series

The metamorphic process affects the low temperature (felsic) minerals first This results in some VERY interesting effects at the higher grades (see below) Pressure Heat and pressure are definitely related Pressure leads to increased heat In general, the increased pressure associated with the metamorphic process results in a rock with tighter packing at the atomic level Therefore, generally higher density than the parent rock There are several sources of pressure... Pore-fluid pressure Release of volatiles supplies some pressure to the overall system Litho-static pressure (REVIEW) (Monroe; fig. 8-7, pg. 241) The load weight of overlying rock Equal pressure in all directions Results in non-foliated rocks (DEFINE) Marble, quartzite common non-foliated varieties Directed pressure (REVIEW) Acts in a specific direction Generally related to tectonics Results in foliated rocks (DEFINE) New mineral grains grow with their long axis oriented normal to the stress (Monroe; fig. 8-10, pg. 244) EXAMPLE: Drop a deck of cards; gravity is the directed stress Most common metamorphic rocks fall into this category

Time Some of the higher grade rocks clearly required a VERY long time to form We can duplicate all the other factors in the lab, but not this one This is the fatal flaw in most studies of earth processes Click here for a discussion of geologic time and metamorphic rocks

Metamorphic environments and rocks There are several major categories Basically related to the size of the system And the relative importance of heat and pressure Local metamorphic terrains Relatively small and isolated occurances of limited extent Regional metamorphic terrains Large, fully developed, and complex environments

Metamorphic terrains of limited extent Contact metamorphism Usually associated with increased heat Without a corresponding increase in pressure Litho-static or limited directed stress Therefore commonly non-foliated Common along the margins of small plutons (dikes, sills, etc.) Localized heating of country rock as magma cools

Results in a thin "halo" of metamorphism Also called a metamorphic aureole (Monroe; fig. 8-5, pg. 240) Usually very thin (millimeters to a few centimeters) Chill margin vs. baked zone (DESCRIBE) Click here for a discussion of cooling history and texture Can be larger in special cases Hornfels: derived from shale Dense, fine-grained, non-foliated Skarn: derived from limestone Skarns can be VERY important to economic geology Calcium carbonate is highly reactive Will extract many different elements from the cooling magma Can result in very high grade mineral occurrences But usually disappointingly small Remember, they form in a contact metamorphic environment Hydrothermal metamorphism (EXPLAIN: hydro + thermal) Heat and chemically active solutions Usually related to residual fluids escaping from a felsic magma chamber Does not have to be felsic, but is probably most common Cataclastic metamorphism Localized near-surface fault zones (redundant?) Rock is tectonically broken and shattered Increases surface area

Leads to increased fluid penetration and hydrothermal metamorphism Can also occur locally at greater depths The added heat and pressure can accentuate the metamorphic processes Mylonite: Greek for "mill" (Monroe; fig. 8-8, pg. 242) Nearly complete pulverization of the rock Leads to partial to complete recrystallization Very tightly inter-grown minerals Extremely hard and durable rock

Regional metamorphism: an overview Click here for online mineral and rock ID charts Can result in bodies of great extent Most (but not all) are the result of directed stress environments Also called "dynamo-thermal" metamorphic rocks Associated with continental mountain building processes Combined with granite, these form the cores of the continental land masses Called cratons Shields where exposed Platforms where obscured by sedimentary layers Heat, pressure, and volatiles are all important Usually results in prominent foliation (but not always) And very complex mineral assemblages related to local variations in rock chemistry and metamorphic grade (more later)

THE ROCKS --Click here for online mineral and rock ID charts

Non-foliated metamorphic rocks (Monroe; Table 8-2, pg. 243) Heat and litho-static pressure predominate Results in a recrystallization of existing material These factors are everywhere beneath the surface Therefore, taking a very broad view, all rocks can be considered non-foliated metamorphics to some degree There are several common non-foliated rocks Quartzite: derived from sandstone (Monroe; fig. 8-17, pg. 247) Very hard and durable Looks like sandstone But, the rock will break through the quartz grains, not around them Hornfels: derived from shale (usually) Also very hard, dense, and durable Marble: derived from limestone (Monroe; fig. 8-16, pg. 247; and "Marble," pg.234) In most cases, the parent limestone had impurities Add color and pattern to the marble Can be dense and compact, but softer than quartzite or hornfels It's made from CaCO3 like calcite and limestone Good for carving, building stone, facing stone Josephine County Courthouse

All three represent common marine sedimentary facies which are probably metamorphosed by the weight of overlying debris

Foliated metamorphic rocks (Monroe; Table 8-2, pg. 243) Click here for online mineral and rock ID charts Result of increasing heat and directed pressure Increasing metamorphic grade generally results in a coarsening of texture As well as a concentration of felsic and mafic constituents Increasing grade also results in a progression specific minerals (Monroe; fig. 8-18, pg. 248) Obviously dependent upon original rock chemistry Called a metamorphic facies (Monroe; fig. 8-20, pg. 250) (Monroe; fig. 8-21, pg. 248) Examples: staurolite facies, actinolite facies, greenschist facies The same elements recombine to form different minerals at different temperature and pressure environments Each facies indicates temperature, pressure, and fluid conditions at the time of the metamorphism Platy minerals: mica, chlorite, graphite Common at lower metamorphic grade Orientation results in "foliation" Elongate minerals: hornblende, staurolite, pyroxene Common at higher metamorphic grade Orientation results in "lineation" The resulting progression of metamorphic rocks is fairly specific With infinite gradations and variations!

Let's start with deep-water marine sediments and follow the process Add heat and pressure between (and within) each step Metamorphics are the ultimate "shades of gray" situation in geology These are only the broadest of category names The variations are endless Shale A common sedimentary rock Very fine grain Toss in a little sandstone and limestone and you've got your basic marine sedimentary assemblage Slate Little or no significant visible change (Monroe; fig. 8-11, pg. 244) Still microscopic grains But the mineralogy has begun to change Usually to mica, graphite, or chlorite Low temperature minerals with one perfect cleavage A very hard and durable rock Commonly used as pool table tops, roofs, and chalkboards Phyllite Begin to see mineral grains Commonly lots of mica - gives rock a shiney look Can be up to 50% muscovite But can also be graphite or chlorite

Schist A very broad category (Monroe; fig. 8-12, pg. 245) Significant change in mineralogy, texture, and visible foliation Well developed foliation of micaceous minerals (usually greater than 50%) Also called schistosity The characteristic wavy or undulating rock cleavage common to schist May not parallel original bedding Most primary textures and features are lost Other minerals begin to form based on composition of original rock and new environmental conditions Use additional minerals as modifier of name EX: mica schist, quartz schist, hornblende schist, quartz-mica-hornblende schist, etc. Gneiss High grade metamorphic rock (Monroe; fig. 8-13, pg. 245) Color banding of light and dark minerals DIGRESS TO: layers vs. lenses Lineation: orientation of prismatic minerals Hornblende, actinolite, tourmaline, staurolite Migmatite Almost there! (Monroe; fig. 8-15, pg. 246) Partial melting and recrystallization of felsic minerals REVIEW: Reverse order of Bowen's Reaction Series Results in a rock with layers of felsic igneous rock and very high grade mafic gneiss

To summarize... Click here for online mineral and rock ID charts Increasing grade very common in sedimentary sequences Layers of sediment pile up deeper and deeper Leads to lithification of the lower layers As additional layers of sediments are added on top, the lowest portions begin to metamorphose Followed to its logical conclusion... Imagine an unbroken transition from unconsolidated sediments to sedimentary rock through increasing metamorphic grade to...

Migmatites and the Formation of Granitic Magmas Migmatite - a very high temperature metamorphic rock Because of Bowen's, the felsic constituents have reached their melting point But the mafics still have a way to go So we end up with a highly contorted, mixed igneous and metamorphic rock Called "roof pendants" because they usually grade into felsic intrusives at greater depth Several excellent examples Kaweah River - Sierra Nevada foothills Near south entrance to Sequoia National Park Convict Lake area - eastern Sierra Nevada Ashland pluton - Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon and California Add more heat and the whole thing melts - a phase change When I was in this class, most granitic magmas were "emplaced from below"

Usually through "forceful injection" Kind of an ominous thought ...and where did they come from? Direct differentiation from the upper mantle is hard to believe In almost every case, magmas we see coming out of deep rifts in the crust are mafic Your basic oceanic spreading ridge They begin to purify into felsic materials where they are re-worked along the continental margins Subduction zones and the cores of volcanic arcs Therefore, the ultimate source of most granitic magmas must be a metamorphic process Click here for additional information on the formation of granitic magmas Click here for additional thoughts on the direct differentiation of granitic magmas from the upper mantle

The realms of dynamo-thermal metamorphism No clear-cut answers, but lots of circumstantial evidence Commonly in elongate bodies 10's to 100's of miles wide 100's to 1000's of miles long Associated with deep- seated plutonic rocks Batholiths like the Sierra Nevada Form the axes of many of the world's mountain ranges Sierra Nevada, Alps, Rocky Mountains, etc. Intermediate to high temperatures

Intermediate to high directed pressure Clearly long and well developed crustal tectonic environments Time spans measured in 100's of millions of years Moderate to great depth - but still in the crust All this adds up to subduction complexes as the most logical location These metamorphic suites most likely form the cores of the subduction zones

Metamorphic Rocks

Overview of the process Start with any rock Subjected to different environment conditions Commonly due to burial or subsidence of the crust due to tectonics Heat and pressure usually involved Generally at depth in the crust Mineralogy ALWAYS changes in an attempt to restore equilibrium Solid-State process - explain the reality of what this means Iso-chemical process - explain the reality of what this means Contact vs. Regional metamorphism Litho-static vs. directed stress environments Foliated vs. non-foliated rocks

The metamorphic process

Foliated metamorphic rocks Usually associated with regional metamorphism Result of heat and directed pressure Therefore will generally exhibit a distinct layering There is a fairly specific progression through the main metamorphic sequence For example, starting with Shale - a common sedimentary rock Very fine grain Add HEAT and PRESSURE and it metamorphoses to... Slate - little or no significant visible change Still microscopic grains Mineralogy begins to change Usually to mica Add more HEAT and PRESSURE and it metamorphoses to... Phyllite - begin to see mineral grains Commonly lots of mica - gives rock a shinny look Add more HEAT and PRESSURE and it metamorphoses to... Schist - significant change Foliation of micaceous minerals (muscovite and/or biotite) Other minerals begin to form based on composition of original rock and new conditions Use additional minerals as modifier of name EX: Hornblende schist, quartz schist, etc. Add more HEAT and PRESSURE and it metamorphoses to... Gneiss - high grade metamorphic rock

Color banding of light and dark minerals Add more HEAT and PRESSURE and it metamorphoses to... Migmatite - Partial melting of felsic minerals Remember Bowen's Reaction Series? The felsic minerals will melt at lower temperatures Results in a rock with layers of "granite" and high grade mafic gneiss Add enough HEAT and PRESSURE and it ultimately melts to form magma... Granite or ??? - a new igneous rock after complete melting

Non-Foliated metamorphic rocks Usually associated with contact metamorphism Result of heat and litho-static pressure Therefore will generally not exhibit a distinct layering Marble - metamorphosed limestone Relatively soft and will pass the fizz test Generally coarsely crystalline But can also be fine grained Can be quite beautiful - many colors Commonly used in carving Carrera Marble - Italy Very vine grain and pure Quartzite - metamorphosed sandstone Generally very hard and resistant

Andesite

Andesite is a fine-grained, extrusive igneous rock composed mainly of plagioclase with other minerals such as hornblende, pyroxene and biotite. The specimen shown is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Basalt

Basalt is a fine-grained, dark-colored extrusive igneous rock composed mainly of plagioclase and pyroxene. The specimen shown is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Diorite

Diorite is a coarse-grained, intrusive igneous rock that contains a mixture of feldspar, pyroxene, hornblende and sometimes quartz. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

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Gabbro

Gabbro is a coarse-grained, dark colored, intrusive igneous rock that contains feldspar, augite and sometimes olivine. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Granite

Granite is a coarse-grained, light colored, intrusive igneous rock that contains mainly quartz and feldspar minerals. The specimen above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Obsidian

Obsidian is a dark-colored volcanic glass that forms from the very rapid cooling of molten rock material. It cools so rapidly that crystals do not form. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

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Pegmatitie

Pegmatite is a light-colored, extremely coarse-grained intrusive igneous rock. It forms near the margins of a magma chamber during the final phases of magma chamber crystallization. It often contains rare minerals that are not found in other parts of the magma chamber. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Peridotite

Peridotite is a coarse-grained intrusive igneous rock that is composed almost entirely of olivine. It may contain small amounts of amphibole, feldspar, quartz or pyroxene. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Pumice

Pumice is a light-colored vesicular igneous rock. It forms through very rapid solidification of a melt. The vesicular texture is a result of gas trapped in the melt at the time of solidification. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

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Rhyolite

Rhyolite is a light-colored, fine-grained, extrusive igneous rock that typically contains quartz and feldspar minerals. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Scoria

Scoria is a dark-colored, vesicular, extrusive igneous rock. The vesicles are a result of trapped gas within the melt at the time of solidification. It often forms as a frothy crust on the top of a lava flow or as material ejected from a volcanic vent and solidifying while airborne. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Tuff

Welded Tuff is a rock that is composed of materials that were ejected from a volcano, fell to Earth, and then lithified into a rock. It is usually composed mainly of volcanic ash and sometimes contains larger size particles such as cinders. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

METAMORPHIC ROCKS PICS

Amphibolite

Amphibolite is a non-foliated metamorphic rock that forms through recrystallization under conditions of high viscosity and directed pressure. It is composed primarily of amphibole and plagioclase, usually with very little quartz. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Gneiss

Gneiss is foliated metamorphic rock that has a banded appearance and is made up of granular mineral grains. It typically contains abundant quartz or feldspar minerals. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Hornfels

Hornfels is a fine-grained nonfoliated metamorphic rock with no specific composition. It is produced by contact metamorphism. Hornfels is a rock that was "baked" while near a heat source such as a magma chamber, sill or dike. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

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Marble

Marble is a non-foliated metamorphic rock that is produced from the metamorphism of limestone. It is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Phyllite

Phyllite is a foliate metamorphic rock that is made up mainly of very fine-grained mica. The surface of phyllite is typically lustrous and sometimes wrinkled. It is intermediate in grade between slate and schist. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters across). Return to Top

Quartzite

Quartzite is a non-foliated metamorphic rock that is produced by the metamorphism of sandstone. It is composed primarily of quartz. The specimen above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

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Schist (Chlorite Schist)

Schist is metamorphic rock with well developed foliation. It often contains significant amounts of mica which allow the rock to split into thin pieces. It is a rock of intermediate metamorphic grade between phyllite and gneiss. The specimen shown above is a "chlorite schist" because it contains a significant amount of chlorite. It is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Schist (Garnet Schist)

Schist is metamorphic rock with well developed foliation. It often contains significant amounts of mica which allow the rock to split into thin pieces. It is a rock of intermediate metamorphic grade between phyllite and gneiss. The specimen shown above is a "garnet schist" because it contains a significant amount of garnet. The small crystals visible in the rock are small red garnets. It is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

SEDIMENTARY ROCKS PICS

Breccia

Breccia is a clastic sedimentary rock that is composed of large (over two millimeter diameter) angular fragments. The spaces between the large fragments can be filled with a matrix of smaller particles or a mineral cement which binds the rock together. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Chert

Chert is a microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline sedimentary rock material composed of silicon dioxide (SiO 2). It occurs as nodules and concretionary masses and less frequently as a layered deposit. It breaks with a conchoidal fracture, often producing very sharp edges. Early people took advantage of how chert breaks and used it to fashion cutting tools and weapons. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Coal

Coal is an organic sedimentary rock that forms mainly from plant debris. The plant debris usually accumulates in a swamp environment. Coal is combustible and is often mined for use as a fuel. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Conglomerate

Conglomerate is a clastic sedimentary rock that contains large (greater then two millimeters in diameter) rounded particles. The space between the pebbles is generally filled with smaller particles and/or a chemical cement that binds the rock together. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

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Iron Ore

Iron Ore is a chemical sedimentary rock that forms when iron and oxygen (and sometimes other substances) combine in solution and deposit as a sediment. Hematite (shown above) is the most common sedimentary iron ore mineral. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Limestone

Limestone is a rock that is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. It can form organically from the accumulation of shell, coral, algal and fecal debris. It can also form chemically from the precipitation of calcium carbonate from lake or ocean water. Limestone is used in many ways. Some of the most common are: production of cement, crushed stone and acid neutralization. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Rock Salt

Rock Salt is a chemical sedimentary rock that forms from the evaporation of ocean or saline lake waters. It is also known by the mineral name "halite". It is rarely found at

Earth's surface, except in areas of very arid climate. It is often mined for use in the chemical industry or for use as a winter highway treatment. Some halite is processed for use as a seasoning for food. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Sandstone

Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock made up mainly of sand-size (1/16 to 2 millimeter diameter) weathering debris. Environments where large amounts of sand can accumulate include beaches, deserts, flood plains and deltas. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Shale

Shale is a clastic sedimentary rock that is made up of clay-size (less then 1/256 millimeter in diameter) weathering debris. It typically breaks into thin flat pieces. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across. Return to Top

Siltstone

Siltstone is a clastic sedimentary rock that forms from silt-size (between 1/256 and 1/16 millimeter diameter) weathering debris. The specimen shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

Igneous textures
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Igneous textures include the rock textures occurring in igneous rocks. Igneous textures are used by geologists in determining the mode of origin igneous rocks and are used in rock classification. There are six main types of textures; phaneritic, aphanitic, porphyritic, glassy, pyroclastic and pegmatitic. Aphanitic (a = not, phaner = visible) rocks in contrast to phaneritic rocks, typically form from lava which crystallize rapidly on or near the Earth' surface. Because extrusive rocks make contact with the atmosphere they cool quickly, so the minerals do not have time to form large crystals. The individual crystals in an aphanitic igneous rock are not distinguisable to the naked eye. Examples of aphanitic igneous rock include basalt, andesite and rhyolite. Glassy or vitreous textures occur during some volcanic eruptions when the lava is quenched so rapidly that crystallization cannot occur. The result is a natural amorphous glass with few or no crystals. Examples include obsidian and pumice.

Pegmatitic texture occurs during magma cooling when some minerals may grow so large that they become massive (the size ranges from a few centimetres to several metres). This is typical ofpegmatites. Phaneritic (phaner = visible) textures are typical of intrusive igneous rocks, these rocks crystallized slowly below the Earth's surface. As a magma cools slowly the minerals have time to grow and form large crystals. The minerals in a phaneritic igneous rock are sufficiently large to see each individual crystal with the naked eye. Examples of phaneritic igneous rocks are gabbro, diorite andgranite. Porphyritic textures develop when conditions during cooling of a magma change relatively quickly. The earlier formed minerals will have formed slowly and remain as large crystals, whereas, sudden cooling causes the rapid crystallization of the remainder of the melt into a fine grained (aphanitic) matrix. The result is an aphanitic rock with some larger crystals (phenocrysts) imbedded within its matrix. Porphyritic texture also occurs when magma crystallizes below a volcano but is erupted before completing crystallization thus forcing the remaining lava to crystallize more rapidly with much smaller crystals. Pyroclastic (pyro = igneous, clastic = fragment) textures occur when explosive eruptions blast the lava into the air resulting in fragmental, typically glassy material which fall as volcanic ash, lapilliand volcanic bombs.