How Do Rocks Undergo Change?
ES0602  Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic Rocks

The three types of rocks—igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic—are all subject to processes that change one rock type into another. The images below show several types of rocks undergoing these processes.

Just as evaporation and precipitation are processes that move water through the water cycle, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock-forming processes move rocks through the rock cycle. In this investigation, you’ll examine a detailed example of a rock traveling through the rock cycle.

R.W. Decker, USGS
Lava flowing from a volcano in Hawaii forms igneous rocks.
Matthew Nyman, TERC
Sedimentary and and metamorphic rocks in Arizona were broken into sediments and carried away, leaving the Grand Canyon behind.
Matthew Nyman, TERC
Metamorphic rocks in Arizona show formerly flat sedimentary layers squeezed into new shapes.
Rocks in Hawaii have been broken into sediments and have accumulated on this beach, where they might form a sedimentary rock.

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