- 3.1: The Rock Cycle
- The rock components of the crust are slowly but constantly being changed from one form to another and the processes involved are summarized in the rock cycle. The rock cycle is driven by two forces: (1) Earth’s internal heat engine, which moves material around in the core and the mantle and leads to slow but significant changes within the crust, and (2) the hydrological cycle, which is the movement of water, ice, and air at the surface, and is powered by the sun.
- 3.2: Magma and Magma Formation
- The composition of magma depends on the rock it was formed from (by melting), and the conditions of that melting. Magmas derived from the mantle have higher levels of iron, magnesium, and calcium, but they are still likely to be dominated by oxygen and silicon. All magmas have varying proportions of elements such as hydrogen, carbon, and sulphur, which are converted into gases like water vapour, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide as the magma cools.
- 3.3: Crystallization of Magma
- The minerals that make up igneous rocks crystallize at a range of different temperatures. This explains why a cooling magma can have some crystals within it and yet remain predominantly liquid. The sequence in which minerals crystallize from a magma is known as the Bowen reaction series.
Thumbnail: Half Dome in Yosemite is a classic granite (a common intrusive igneous rock) dome and popular rock climbing destination (Public Domain; Jon Sullivan).