Metamorphic rock

Metamorphic rock

Overview

Metamorphic rock is the transformation of an existing rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism
Metamorphism
Metamorphism is the solid-state recrystallization of pre-existing rocks due to changes in physical and chemical conditions, primarily heat, pressure, and the introduction of chemically active fluids. Mineralogical, chemical and crystallographic changes can occur during this process...

, which means "change in form". The protolith
Protolith
Protolith refers to the precursor lithology of a metamorphic rock.For example, the protolith of a slate is a shale or mudstone. Metamorphic rocks can be derived from any other rock and thus have a wide variety of protoliths. Identifying a protolith is a major aim of metamorphic geology.Sedimentary...

 is subjected to heat and pressure (temperatures greater than 150 to 200 °C and pressures of 1500 bars) causing profound physical and/or chemical change. The protolith may be sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

, igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

 or another older metamorphic rock. Metamorphic rocks make up a large part of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

 and are classified by texture and by chemical and mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

 assemblage (metamorphic facies
Metamorphic facies
The metamorphic facies are groups of mineral compositions in metamorphic rocks, that are typical for a certain field in pressure-temperature space...

).
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Encyclopedia

Metamorphic rock is the transformation of an existing rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism
Metamorphism
Metamorphism is the solid-state recrystallization of pre-existing rocks due to changes in physical and chemical conditions, primarily heat, pressure, and the introduction of chemically active fluids. Mineralogical, chemical and crystallographic changes can occur during this process...

, which means "change in form". The protolith
Protolith
Protolith refers to the precursor lithology of a metamorphic rock.For example, the protolith of a slate is a shale or mudstone. Metamorphic rocks can be derived from any other rock and thus have a wide variety of protoliths. Identifying a protolith is a major aim of metamorphic geology.Sedimentary...

 is subjected to heat and pressure (temperatures greater than 150 to 200 °C and pressures of 1500 bars) causing profound physical and/or chemical change. The protolith may be sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

, igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

 or another older metamorphic rock. Metamorphic rocks make up a large part of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

 and are classified by texture and by chemical and mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

 assemblage (metamorphic facies
Metamorphic facies
The metamorphic facies are groups of mineral compositions in metamorphic rocks, that are typical for a certain field in pressure-temperature space...

). They may be formed simply by being deep beneath the Earth's surface, subjected to high temperatures and the great pressure of the rock layers above it. They can form from tectonic
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 processes such as continental collisions, which cause horizontal pressure, friction and distortion. They are also formed when rock is heated up by the intrusion of hot molten rock called magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 from the Earth's interior. The study of metamorphic rocks (now exposed at the Earth's surface following erosion and uplift) provides information about the temperatures and pressures that occur at great depths within the Earth's crust.
Some examples of metamorphic rocks are gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

, slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

, marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

, and quartzite
Quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

.

Metamorphic minerals


Metamorphic minerals are those that form only at the high temperatures and pressures associated with the process of metamorphism. These minerals, known as index mineral
Index mineral
An index mineral is used in geology to determine the degree of metamorphism a rock has experienced. Depending on the original composition of and the pressure and temperature experienced by the protolith , chemical reactions between minerals in the solid state produce new minerals...

s, include sillimanite
Sillimanite
Sillimanite is an alumino-silicate mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO5. Sillimanite is named after the American chemist Benjamin Silliman . It was first described in 1824 for an occurrence in Chester, Middlesex County, Connecticut, USA....

, kyanite
Kyanite
Kyanite, whose name derives from the Greek word kuanos sometimes referred to as "kyanos", meaning deep blue, is a typically blue silicate mineral, commonly found in aluminium-rich metamorphic pegmatites and/or sedimentary rock. Kyanite in metamorphic rocks generally indicates pressures higher than...

, staurolite
Staurolite
Staurolite is a red brown to black, mostly opaque, nesosilicate mineral with a white streak.-Properties:It crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, has a Mohs hardness of 7 to 7.5 and a rather complex chemical formula: 2Al94O204...

, andalusite
Andalusite
Andalusite is an aluminium nesosilicate mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO5.The variety chiastolite commonly contains dark inclusions of carbon or clay which form a checker-board pattern when shown in cross-section....

, and some garnet
Garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

.

Other minerals, such as olivine
Olivine
The mineral olivine is a magnesium iron silicate with the formula 2SiO4. It is a common mineral in the Earth's subsurface but weathers quickly on the surface....

s, pyroxene
Pyroxene
The pyroxenes are a group of important rock-forming inosilicate minerals found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. They share a common structure consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra and they crystallize in the monoclinic and orthorhombic systems...

s, amphibole
Amphibole
Amphibole is the name of an important group of generally dark-colored rock-forming inosilicate minerals, composed of double chain tetrahedra, linked at the vertices and generally containing ions of iron and/or magnesium in their structures.-Mineralogy:...

s, mica
Mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

s, feldspar
Feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

s, and quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

, may be found in metamorphic rocks, but are not necessarily the result of the process of metamorphism. These minerals formed during the crystallization
Crystallization
Crystallization is the process of formation of solid crystals precipitating from a solution, melt or more rarely deposited directly from a gas. Crystallization is also a chemical solid–liquid separation technique, in which mass transfer of a solute from the liquid solution to a pure solid...

 of igneous rocks. They are stable at high temperatures and pressures and may remain chemically unchanged during the metamorphic process. However, all minerals are stable only within certain limits, and the presence of some minerals in metamorphic rocks indicates the approximate temperatures and pressures at which they formed.

The change in the particle size of the rock during the process of metamorphism is called recrystallization
Recrystallization (geology)
In geology, solid-state recrystallization is a metamorphic process that occurs under situations of intense temperature and pressure where grains, atoms or molecules of a rock or mineral are packed closer together, creating a new crystal structure. The basic composition remains the same...

. For instance, the small calcite
Calcite
Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate . The other polymorphs are the minerals aragonite and vaterite. Aragonite will change to calcite at 380-470°C, and vaterite is even less stable.-Properties:...

 crystals in the sedimentary rock limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 change into larger crystals in the metamorphic rock marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, or in metamorphosed sandstone, recrystallization of the original quartz sand grains results in very compact quartzite, in which the often larger quartz crystals are interlocked. Both high temperatures and pressures contribute to recrystallization. High temperatures allow the atom
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s and ion
Ion
An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. The name was given by physicist Michael Faraday for the substances that allow a current to pass between electrodes in a...

s in solid crystals to migrate, thus reorganizing the crystals, while high pressures cause solution of the crystals within the rock at their point of contact.

Foliation


The layering within metamorphic rocks is called foliation
Foliation (geology)
Foliation is any penetrative planar fabric present in rocks. Foliation is common to rocks affected by regional metamorphic compression typical of orogenic belts. Rocks exhibiting foliation include the standard sequence formed by the prograde metamorphism of mudrocks; slate, phyllite, schist and...

(derived from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word folia, meaning "leaves"), and it occurs when a rock is being shortened along one axis during recrystallization. This causes the platy or elongated crystals of minerals, such as mica
Mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

 and chlorite
Chlorite group
The chlorites are a group of phyllosilicate minerals. Chlorites can be described by the following four endmembers based on their chemistry via substitution of the following four elements in the silicate lattice; Mg, Fe, Ni, and Mn....

, to become rotated such that their long axes are perpendicular to the orientation of shortening. This results in a banded, or foliated, rock, with the bands showing the colors of the minerals that formed them.

Textures are separated into foliated
Foliation (geology)
Foliation is any penetrative planar fabric present in rocks. Foliation is common to rocks affected by regional metamorphic compression typical of orogenic belts. Rocks exhibiting foliation include the standard sequence formed by the prograde metamorphism of mudrocks; slate, phyllite, schist and...

 and non-foliated categories. Foliated rock is a product of differential stress that deforms the rock in one plane, sometimes creating a plane of cleavage
Cleavage (geology)
This article is about rock cleavage, for cleavage in minerals see Cleavage Cleavage, in structural geology and petrology, describes a type of planar rock feature that develops as a result of deformation and metamorphism. The degree of deformation and metamorphism along with rock type determines the...

. For example, slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

 is a foliated metamorphic rock, originating from shale
Shale
Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. The ratio of clay to other minerals is variable. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering...

. Non-foliated rock does not have planar patterns of strain.

Rocks that were subjected to uniform pressure from all sides, or those that lack minerals with distinctive growth habits, will not be foliated. Slate is an example of a very fine-grained, foliated metamorphic rock, while phyllite
Phyllite
Phyllite is a type of foliated metamorphic rock primarily composed of quartz, sericite mica, and chlorite; the rock represents a gradation in the degree of metamorphism between slate and mica schist. Minute crystals of graphite, sericite, or chlorite impart a silky, sometimes golden sheen to the...

 is medium, schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

 coarse, and gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

 very coarse-grained. Marble is generally not foliated, which allows its use as a material for sculpture and architecture.

Another important mechanism of metamorphism is that of chemical reactions that occur between minerals without them melting. In the process atoms are exchanged between the minerals, and thus new minerals are formed. Many complex high-temperature reactions may take place, and each mineral assemblage produced provides us with a clue as to the temperatures and pressures at the time of metamorphism.

Metasomatism is the drastic change in the bulk chemical composition of a rock that often occurs during the processes of metamorphism. It is due to the introduction of chemicals from other surrounding rocks. Water may transport these chemicals rapidly over great distances. Because of the role played by water, metamorphic rocks generally contain many elements absent from the original rock, and lack some that originally were present. Still, the introduction of new chemicals is not necessary for recrystallization to occur.

Contact metamorphism



Contact metamorphism is the name given to the changes that take place when magma is injected into the surrounding solid rock (country rock). The changes that occur are greatest wherever the magma comes into contact with the rock because the temperatures are highest at this boundary and decrease with distance from it. Around the igneous rock that forms from the cooling magma is a metamorphosed zone called a contact metamorphism aureole. Aureoles may show all degrees of metamorphism from the contact area to unmetamorphosed (unchanged) country rock some distance away. The formation of important ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

 minerals may occur by the process of metasomatism
Metasomatism
Metasomatism is the chemical alteration of a rock by hydrothermal and other fluids.Metasomatism can occur via the action of hydrothermal fluids from an igneous or metamorphic source. In the igneous environment, metasomatism creates skarns, greisen, and may affect hornfels in the contact...

 at or near the contact zone.

When a rock is contact altered by an igneous intrusion it very frequently becomes more indurated, and more coarsely crystalline. Many altered rocks of this type were formerly called hornstones, and the term hornfels
Hornfels
Hornfels is the group designation for a series of contact metamorphic rocks that have been baked and indurated by the heat of intrusive igneous masses and have been rendered...

is often used by geologists to signify those
fine grained, compact, non-foliated products of contact metamorphism. A shale
Shale
Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. The ratio of clay to other minerals is variable. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering...

 may become a dark argillaceous
Argillaceous minerals
Argillaceous minerals may appear silvery upon optical reflection and are minerals containing substantial amounts of clay-like components . Argillaceous components are fine-grained aluminosilicates, and more particularly clay minerals such as kaolinite, montmorillonite-smectite, illite, and...

 hornfels, full of tiny plates of brownish biotite
Biotite
Biotite is a common phyllosilicate mineral within the mica group, with the approximate chemical formula . More generally, it refers to the dark mica series, primarily a solid-solution series between the iron-endmember annite, and the magnesium-endmember phlogopite; more aluminous endmembers...

; a marl
Marl
Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and aragonite. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay...

 or impure limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 may change to a grey, yellow or greenish lime-silicate-hornfels or siliceous marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, tough and splintery, with abundant augite
Augite
Augite is a single chain inosilicate mineral, 2O6. The crystals are monoclinic and prismatic. Augite has two prominent cleavages, meeting at angles near 90 degrees.-Characteristics:Augite is a solid solution in the pyroxene group...

, garnet
Garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

, wollastonite
Wollastonite
Wollastonite is a calcium inosilicate mineral that may contain small amounts of iron, magnesium, and manganese substituting for calcium. It is usually white. It forms when impure limestone or dolostone is subjected to high temperature and pressure sometimes in the presence of silica-bearing fluids...

 and other minerals in which calcite
Calcite
Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate . The other polymorphs are the minerals aragonite and vaterite. Aragonite will change to calcite at 380-470°C, and vaterite is even less stable.-Properties:...

 is an important component. A diabase
Diabase
Diabase or dolerite is a mafic, holocrystalline, subvolcanic rock equivalent to volcanic basalt or plutonic gabbro. In North American usage, the term diabase refers to the fresh rock, whilst elsewhere the term dolerite is used for the fresh rock and diabase refers to altered material...

 or andesite
Andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

 may become a diabase hornfels or andesite hornfels with development of new hornblende and biotite and a partial recrystallization of the original feldspar. Chert
Chert
Chert is a fine-grained silica-rich microcrystalline, cryptocrystalline or microfibrous sedimentary rock that may contain small fossils. It varies greatly in color , but most often manifests as gray, brown, grayish brown and light green to rusty red; its color is an expression of trace elements...

 or flint
Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

 may become a finely crystalline quartz rock; sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

s lose their clastic structure and are converted into a mosaic of small close-fitting grains of quartz in a metamorphic rock called quartzite
Quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

.

If the rock was originally banded or foliated
Foliation (geology)
Foliation is any penetrative planar fabric present in rocks. Foliation is common to rocks affected by regional metamorphic compression typical of orogenic belts. Rocks exhibiting foliation include the standard sequence formed by the prograde metamorphism of mudrocks; slate, phyllite, schist and...

 (as, for example, a laminated sandstone or a foliated calc-schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

) this character may not be obliterated, and a banded hornfels is the product; fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s even may have their shapes preserved, though entirely recrystallized, and in many contact-altered lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

s the vesicles
Vesicular texture
Vesicular texture is a volcanic rock texture characterised by a rock being pitted with many cavities at its surface and inside. The texture is often found in extrusive aphanitic, or glassy, igneous rock...

 are still visible, though their contents have usually entered into new combinations to form minerals that were not originally present. The minute structures, however, disappear, often completely, if the thermal alteration is very profound; thus small grains of quartz in a shale are lost or blend with the surrounding particles of clay, and the fine ground-mass of lavas is entirely reconstructed.

By recrystallization in this manner peculiar rocks of very distinct types are often produced. Thus shales may pass into cordierite
Cordierite
Cordierite or iolite is a magnesium iron aluminium cyclosilicate. Iron is almost always present and a solid solution exists between Mg-rich cordierite and Fe-rich sekaninaite with a series formula: 2 to 2...

 rocks, or may show large crystals of andalusite
Andalusite
Andalusite is an aluminium nesosilicate mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO5.The variety chiastolite commonly contains dark inclusions of carbon or clay which form a checker-board pattern when shown in cross-section....

 (and chiastolite
Chiastolite
The mineral chiastolite is a variety of andalusite with the chemical composition Al2SiO5. It is noted for distinctive cross-shaped black inclusions of graphite. In areas around Georgetown, California, metamorphosed sediments contained andalusite and chiastolite in a graphite rich metasediment...

), staurolite
Staurolite
Staurolite is a red brown to black, mostly opaque, nesosilicate mineral with a white streak.-Properties:It crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, has a Mohs hardness of 7 to 7.5 and a rather complex chemical formula: 2Al94O204...

, garnet
Garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

, kyanite
Kyanite
Kyanite, whose name derives from the Greek word kuanos sometimes referred to as "kyanos", meaning deep blue, is a typically blue silicate mineral, commonly found in aluminium-rich metamorphic pegmatites and/or sedimentary rock. Kyanite in metamorphic rocks generally indicates pressures higher than...

 and sillimanite
Sillimanite
Sillimanite is an alumino-silicate mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO5. Sillimanite is named after the American chemist Benjamin Silliman . It was first described in 1824 for an occurrence in Chester, Middlesex County, Connecticut, USA....

, all derived from the aluminous content of the original shale. A considerable amount of mica
Mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

 (both muscovite and biotite) is often simultaneously formed, and the resulting product has a close resemblance to many kinds of schist. Limestones, if pure, are often turned into coarsely crystalline marbles; but if there was an admixture
of clay or sand in the original rock such minerals as garnet, epidote
Epidote
Epidote is a calcium aluminium iron sorosilicate mineral, Ca2Al2O, crystallizing in the monoclinic system. Well-developed crystals are of frequent occurrence: they are commonly prismatic in habit, the direction of elongation being perpendicular to the single plane of symmetry. The faces are often...

, idocrase, wollastonite, will be present. Sandstones when greatly heated may change into coarse quartzites composed of large clear grains of quartz. These more intense stages of alteration are not
so commonly seen in igneous rocks, because their minerals, being formed at high temperatures, are not so easily transformed or recrystallized.

In a few cases rocks are fused and in the dark glassy product minute crystals of spinel
Spinel
Spinel is the magnesium aluminium member of the larger spinel group of minerals. It has the formula MgAl2O4. Balas ruby is an old name for a rose-tinted variety.-Spinel group:...

, sillimanite and cordierite
Cordierite
Cordierite or iolite is a magnesium iron aluminium cyclosilicate. Iron is almost always present and a solid solution exists between Mg-rich cordierite and Fe-rich sekaninaite with a series formula: 2 to 2...

 may separate out. Shales are occasionally thus altered by basalt dikes
Dike (geology)
A dike or dyke in geology is a type of sheet intrusion referring to any geologic body that cuts discordantly across* planar wall rock structures, such as bedding or foliation...

, and feldspathic sandstones may be completely vitrified. Similar changes may be induced in shales by the burning of coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 seams or even by an ordinary furnace.

There is also a tendency for metasomatism
Metasomatism
Metasomatism is the chemical alteration of a rock by hydrothermal and other fluids.Metasomatism can occur via the action of hydrothermal fluids from an igneous or metamorphic source. In the igneous environment, metasomatism creates skarns, greisen, and may affect hornfels in the contact...

 between the igneous magma and sedimentary country rock, whereby the chemicals in each are exchanged or introduced into the other. Granites may absorb fragments of shale or pieces of basalt. In that case, hybrid rocks called skarn
Skarn
Skarn is an old Swedish mining term originally used to describe a type of silicate gangue, or waste rock, associated with iron-ore bearing sulfide deposits apparently replacing Archean age limestones in Sweden's Persberg mining district. In modern usage the term "skarn" has been expanded to refer...

 arise, which don't have the characteristics of normal igneous or sedimentary rocks. Sometimes an invading granite magma permeates the rocks around, filling their joints and planes of bedding, etc., with threads of quartz and feldspar. This is very exceptional but instances of it are known and it may take place on a large scale.

Regional metamorphism



Regional metamorphism is the name given to changes in great masses of rock over a wide area. Rocks can be metamorphosed simply by being at great depths below the Earth's surface, subjected to high temperatures and the great pressure caused by the immense weight of the rock layers above. Much of the lower continental crust is metamorphic, except for recent igneous intrusions. Horizontal tectonic movements such as the collision of continents create orogenic belts
Orogeny
Orogeny refers to forces and events leading to a severe structural deformation of the Earth's crust due to the engagement of tectonic plates. Response to such engagement results in the formation of long tracts of highly deformed rock called orogens or orogenic belts...

, and cause high temperatures, pressures and deformation in the rocks along these belts. If the metamorphosed rocks are later uplifted and exposed by erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

, they may occur in long belts or other large areas at the surface. The process of metamorphism may have destroyed the original features that could have revealed the rock's previous history. Recrystallization
Recrystallization (geology)
In geology, solid-state recrystallization is a metamorphic process that occurs under situations of intense temperature and pressure where grains, atoms or molecules of a rock or mineral are packed closer together, creating a new crystal structure. The basic composition remains the same...

 of the rock will destroy the textures and fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s present in sedimentary rocks. Metasomatism will change the original composition.

Regional metamorphism tends to make the rock more indurated and at the same time to give it a foliated, shistose or gneissic texture, consisting of a planar arrangement of the minerals, so that platy or prismatic minerals like mica and hornblende have their longest axes arranged parallel to one another. For that reason many of these rocks split readily in one direction along mica-bearing zones (schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

s). In gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

es, minerals also tend to be segregated into bands; thus there are seams of quartz and of mica in a mica schist, very thin, but consisting essentially of one mineral. Along the mineral layers composed of soft or fissile minerals the rocks will split most readily, and the freshly split specimens will appear to be faced or coated with this mineral; for example, a piece of mica schist looked at facewise might be supposed to consist entirely of shining scales of mica. On the edge of the specimens, however, the white folia of granular quartz will be visible. In gneisses these alternating folia are sometimes thicker and less regular than in schists, but most importantly less micaceous; they may be lenticular, dying out rapidly. Gneisses also, as a rule, contain more feldspar than schists do, and are tougher and less fissile. Contortion or crumbling of the foliation is by no means uncommon; splitting faces are undulose or puckered. Schistosity and gneissic banding (the two main types of foliation) are formed by directed pressure at elevated temperature, and to interstitial movement, or internal flow arranging the mineral particles while they are crystallizing in that directed pressure field.

Rocks that were originally sedimentary and rocks that were undoubtedly igneous may be metamorphosed into schists and gneisses. If originally of similar composition they may be very difficult to distinguish from one another if the metamorphism has been great. A quartz-porphyry
Quartz-porphyry
Quartz-porphyry, in petrology, is the name given to a group of hemi-crystalline acid rocks containing porphyritic crystals of quartz in a fine-grained matrix, usually of micro-crystalline or felsitic structure...

, for example, and a fine feldspathic sandstone, may both be metamorphosed into a grey or pink mica-schist.

Metamorphic rock textures



The five basic metamorphic textures with typical rock types are slaty (includes slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

 and phyllite
Phyllite
Phyllite is a type of foliated metamorphic rock primarily composed of quartz, sericite mica, and chlorite; the rock represents a gradation in the degree of metamorphism between slate and mica schist. Minute crystals of graphite, sericite, or chlorite impart a silky, sometimes golden sheen to the...

) (the foliation is called "slaty cleavage"), "schistose" (includes schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

) (the foliation is called ("schistosity"), gneissose (gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

) (the foliation is called "gneissosity"), granoblastic (includes granulite
Granulite
Granulites are medium to coarse–grained metamorphic rocks that have experienced high temperature metamorphism, composed mainly of feldspars sometimes associated with quartz and anhydrous ferromagnesian minerals, with granoblastic texture and gneissose to massive structure...

, some marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

s and quartzite
Quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

), and hornfelsic (includes hornfels
Hornfels
Hornfels is the group designation for a series of contact metamorphic rocks that have been baked and indurated by the heat of intrusive igneous masses and have been rendered...

 and skarn
Skarn
Skarn is an old Swedish mining term originally used to describe a type of silicate gangue, or waste rock, associated with iron-ore bearing sulfide deposits apparently replacing Archean age limestones in Sweden's Persberg mining district. In modern usage the term "skarn" has been expanded to refer...

).

See also

  • Blueschist
    Blueschist
    Blueschist is a rock that forms by the metamorphism of basalt and rocks with similar composition at high pressures and low temperatures, approximately corresponding to a depth of 15 to 30 kilometers and 200 to ~500 degrees Celsius....

  • List of minerals
  • List of rock types
  • List of rock textures
  • Metavolcanic rock
    Metavolcanic rock
    In geology, metavolcanic rock is a type of metamorphic rock. Such a rock was first produced by a volcano, either as lava or tephra. Then, the rock was buried underneath subsequent rock and was subjected to high pressures and temperatures, causing the rock to recrystallize...

  • Yule marble
    Yule Marble
    Yule Marble is a type of metamorphed limestone found only in the Yule Creek Valley, in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado, just south of the town of Marble, Colorado . Quarried today at 9,300 feet above sea level, Yule Marble is famous for its uniform pure white consistency, lacking, for the most...


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