What is a Rock Cycle?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

A Rock Cycle occurs when old rocks are constantly replaced by new ones. Rocks can change over time, but rarely in their original state. When molten lava solidifies, it becomes igneous rock. Because rock is cyclical, it affects both the geologic cycle and, on planets with life, the biogeochemical cycle.

Rock Cycle Definition and Explation

The rock cycle, a fundamental concept in geology, depicts how the three primary types of rocks namely sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous change over geologic time. A rock changes when it is pushed out of its equilibrium conditions.

  • For instance, an igneous rock like basalt may disintegrate and evaporate when exposed to air or melt when it is subducted beneath a continent.
  • Rocks do not stay in equilibrium; instead, they change as they interact with new environments because of the driving forces of the rock cycle, plate tectonics, and the water cycle.
  • The rock cycle illustrates how the three types of rocks are connected and how processes shift over time from one type to another.

Small igneous rock fragments are dispersed, transported, and deposited to form sedimentary rocks. When igneous and sedimentary rocks are heated and compressed, metamorphic rocks form. Molten magma is formed when metamorphic rocks that are still hot and under pressure melt.


What is a Rock Cycle?

Rocks can change and no longer exist in their original form. The Rock Cycle is the process by which old rocks are transformed into new ones. Molten lava can cool and crystallize again as igneous rocks.

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