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Why It Matters

IDENTIFY AND COMPARE COMMON ROCK FORMING MINERALS, INTERPRET AND UNDERSTAND MINERAL STRUCTURES, MINERAL PROPERTIES

Introduction

In this section we will learn about the rock cycle. Please watch this short video for an introduction:

As you can see, the rock cycle is never ending. The video explained how rocks change from one rock type to another, and—just as important—it showed the processes that cause those changes.

Learning the rock cycle and understanding the processes involved helps all of us. For example, you saw in the video how all rocks are eroded into fine particles. This is how soil forms, through the breakdown of rocks. We need soil to survive—imagine trying to grow vegetables without it. This is an immediate connection to the food chain. The rock cycle also gives scientists and engineers an idea on where energy sources (mainly fossil fuels, which are found only in sedimentary rock) and building materials such as marble or granite may be located. We will see throughout the course how this cycle plays into just about every aspect of geology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Interpret and explain all processes of the rock cycle
  • Differentiate between metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rock types

Ok, let's get started!

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