TOPIC: With reference to the rock cycle, discuss the relationship between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
The rock cycle is a dynamic mass transfer system that explains the igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic processes, i.e. formation and destruction of these rocks, which is driven by plate tectonics and running water (Olsen, P.E., 1999). Plate tectonics expose the buried rocks so they can be weathered as uplifting occurs and bury rocks for metamorphism and further burial for partial and complete melting as subsidence occurs (Olsen, P.E., 1999). Due to the driving forces of the rock cycle, plate tectonics and the water cycle, rocks do not remain in equilibrium and are forced to change as they encounter new environments, thus the rock cycle (Fichter, L. S., 2000).
The types of rocks i.e. sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks that form within the rock cycle are determined by the tectonic activity that takes place at that point e.g. mountain building, metamorphism, volcanism (Plummer et al., 2005). Due to the presence of subduction zones, the formation of all three rock types occurs at the same time. Volcanism, hence intrusion and extrusion occur. As the magma…show more content… the rock cycle, is driven by tectonic activity. Fig1 below sums up these processes; Source: www.rocksandminerals.com/rockcycle.htm
Sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks are all connected as they all form at the expense of another (Plummer et al., 2005). Igneous and metamorphic weathers to form sedimentary rocks, in the same sense, sedimentary rocks also weather to form sedimentary rocks. Metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks, under extreme temperatures melt to form magma that solidifies to form igneous rocks. This happens with the formation of metamorphic rocks, as igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks are metamorphosed, under high pressure and temperature to form metamorphic rocks (Marshak, S., 2001; Marshak, S.,