This chapter discusses the rock cycle and each of the three major types of rocks that form on Earth. Separate sections cover igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks individually.
- Regional metamorphism
Regional metamorphism occurs over a wide area. Great masses of rock are exposed to pressure from rock and sediment layers on top of it. The rock may also be compressed by other geological processes.Metamorphism does not cause a rock to melt completely. It only causes the minerals to change by heat or pressure.
A) Hornfels is a rock that is created by contact metamorphism. (B) Hornfels is so hard that it can create peaks like the Matterhorn.
Hornfels is a rock with alternating bands of dark and light crystals. Hornfels is a good example of how minerals rearrange themselves during metamorphism (Figure). The minerals in hornfels separate by density. The result is that the rock becomes banded. Gneiss forms by regional metamorphism from extremely high temperature and pressure.