Fundamentals of Geography

Topics: Earth, Igneous rock, Climate Pages: 29 (10502 words) Published: June 24, 2013
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Rock (geology)
In geology, a rock is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids. For example, the common rock, granite, is a combination of the quartz, feldspar and biotite minerals. The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. Rocks have been used by mankind throughout history. From the Stone Age rocks have been used for tools. The minerals and metals we find in rocks have been essential to human civilization.[1] Three major groups of rocks are defined: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. The scientific study of rocks is called petrology, which is an essential component of geology. At a granular level, rocks are composed of grains of minerals, which, in turn, are homogeneous solids formed from a chemical compound that is arranged in an orderly manner. The aggregate minerals forming the rock are held together by chemical bonds. The types and abundance of minerals in a rock are determined by the manner in which the rock was formed. Many rocks contain silica (SiO2); a compound of silicon and oxygen that forms 74.3% of the Earth's crust. This material forms crystals with other compounds in the rock. The proportion of silica in rocks and minerals is a major factor in determining their name and properties.[2] Rocks are geologically classified according to characteristics such as mineral and chemical composition, permeability, the texture of the constituent particles, and particle size. These physical properties are the end result of the processes that formed the rocks.[3] Over the course of time, rocks can transform from one type into another, as described by the geological model called the rock cycle. These events produce three general classes of rock:igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. The three classes of rocks are subdivided into many groups. However, there are no hard and fast boundaries between allied rocks. By increase or decrease in the proportions of their constituent minerals they pass by every gradation into one another, the distinctive structures also of one kind of rock may often be traced gradually merging into those of another. Hence the definitions adopted in establishing rock nomenclature merely correspond to more or less arbitrary selected points in a continuously graduated series.[4] Igneous

Igneous rock (derived from the Latin word igneus meaning of fire, from ignis meaning fire) forms through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. This magma can be derived from partial melts of pre-existing rocks in either a planet's mantle or crust. Typically, the melting of rocks is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition. Igneous rocks are divided into two main categories: plutonic rock and volcanic. Plutonic or intrusive rocks result when magma cools and crystallizesslowly within the Earth's crust. A common example of this type is granite. Volcanic or extrusive rocks result from magma reaching the surface either aslava or fragmental ejecta, forming minerals such as pumice or basalt.[3] The chemical abundance and the rate of cooling of magma typically forms a sequence known as Bowen's reaction series, after the Canadian petrologist Norman L. Bowen. Most major igneous rocks are found along this scale.[2] About 64.7% of the Earth's crust by volume consists of igneous rocks; making it the most plentiful category. Of these, 66% are basalts and gabbros, 16% are granite, and 17% granodiorites and diorites. Only 0.6% are syenites and 0.3% peridotites and dunites. The oceanic crust is 99% basalt, which is an igneous rock of mafic composition. Granites and similar rocks, known as meta-granitoids, form much of the continental crust.[5] Over 700 types of igneous rocks have been described, most of them having formed beneath the surface of Earth's crust. These have diverse properties, depending on their composition and how they were...
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