What is the Rock Cycle?

At their core the Rocky Mountains are made up of rocks.  The very name of the Rocky Mountains tells you how important rocks are to the area.  If you go for exploring, you will always come across rocks of some kind.

Think of the cliff faces, big boulders, and the many rocks along rivers.  They are everywhere and it seems that rocks are these super solid objects.  But, as difficult as it may be to believe, rocks are actually always changing.

Forces such as wind, water, heat, and pressure can break them down into smaller and smaller pieces and even change them into new kinds of rocks.  Rocks change, but it happens very, very slowly.  The rock cycle gives an overview of how rocks change from one kind to another.

A lot of the rock cycle happens because the inside of the Earth is very hot. The more you get towards the center of the Earth the hotter it becomes and solid rocks are melted down into magma (lava is simply magma that comes to the Earth’s surface out of a volcano).

rocks rock cycle 2

The Rock Cycle

Weathering, such as wind or rain can break down rocks into small pieces. Over time these small pieces become smaller, eventually turning into sand or dirt (sediment). This sediment can then be squeezed together and become SEDIMENTARY ROCK.

If rocks (any kind) get pushed down into the Earth and are heated up by the Earth’s core or the pressure is great they can be changed into other forms of rock. This is how METAMORPHIC ROCKS are made.

If rocks are pushed deep within the Earth and the heat and pressure become so great the rocks can be melted into liquid magma. When the magma cools it becomes IGNEOUS ROCKS.