The following statements summarize and describe many of the key terms and concepts presented
in the chapter.
- Igneous rock forms from magma that cools and solidifies in a process
called crystallization. Sedimentary rock forms from the lithification of
sediment. Metamorphic rock forms from rock that has been subjected to
great pressure and heat in a process called metamorphism.
- The rate of cooling of magma greatly influences the size of mineral crystals in
igneous rock. The four basic igneous rock textures are (1) fine-grained, (2)
coarse-grained, (3) porphyritic, and (4) glassy.
- Igneous rocks are classified by their texture and mineral
composition. Igneous rocks are divided into broad compositional groups based on the
percentage of dark and light silicate minerals they contain. Felsic rocks
(e.g., granite and rhyolite) are composed mostly of the light-colored silicate minerals
potassium feldspar and quartz. Rocks of intermediate composition (e.g.,
andesite) contain plagioclase feldspar and amphibole. Mafic rocks (e.g.,
basalt) contain abundant olivine, pyroxene, and calcium feldspar.
- The mineral makeup of an igneous rock is ultimately determined by the chemical
composition of the magma from which it crystallized. N. L. Bowen showed that as magma cools,
minerals crystallize in an orderly fashion. Magmatic differentiation changes
the composition of magma and causes more than one rock type to form from a common parent
- Detrital sediments are materials that originate and are transported as
solid particles derived from weathering. Chemical sediments are soluble
materials produced largely by chemical weathering that are precipitated by either inorganic
or organic processes. Detrital sedimentary rocks, which are classified by
particle size, contain a variety of mineral and rock fragments, with clay minerals and
quartz the chief constituents. Chemical sedimentary rocks often contain the
products of biological processes such as shells or mineral crystals that form as water
evaporates and minerals precipitate. Lithification refers to the processes by
which sediments are transformed into solid sedimentary rocks.
- Common detrital sedimentary rocks include shale (the most common
sedimentary rock), sandstone, and conglomerate. The most
abundant chemical sedimentary rock is limestone, composed chiefly of the
mineral calcite. Rock gypsum and rock salt are chemical rocks that form as
water evaporates and triggers the deposition of chemical precipitates.
- Some of the features of sedimentary rocks that are often used in the interpretation
of Earth history and past environments include strata, or beds
(the single most characteristic feature), fossils, ripple marks, and mud
- Two types of metamorphism are (1) regional metamorphism and (2)
contact or thermal metamorphism. The agents of metamorphism include
heat, pressure (stress), and chemically active fluids. Heat is
perhaps the most important because it provides the energy to drive the reactions that result
in the recrystallization of minerals. Metamorphic processes cause many changes
in rocks, including increased density, growth of larger mineral
crystals, reorientation of the mineral grains into a layered or banded appearance
known as foliation, and the formation of new minerals.
- Some common metamorphic rocks with a foliated texture include
slate, schist, and gneiss. Metamorphic rocks with a
nonfoliated texture include marble and quartzite.
- Some of the most important accumulations of metallic mineral resources
are produced by igneous and metamorphic processes. Vein deposits (deposits in
fractures or bedding planes) and disseminated deposits (deposits distributed
throughout the entire rock mass) are produced from hydrothermal
solutionshot metal-rich fluids associated with cooling magma bodies.
- Nonmetallic mineral resources are mined for the nonmetallic elements
they contain or for the physical and chemical properties they possess. The two groups of
nonmetallic mineral resources are (1) building materials (e.g., limestone and
gypsum) and (2) industrial minerals (e.g., fluorite and corundum).