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Cutting Edge > Petrology > Visualizations > Rock Cycle

Rock Cycle

Compiled by Mark Francek (more info) at Central Michigan University

Find animations for the rock cycle including metamorphic rock formation, clastic sedimentary rocks formation, igneous rock formation, and igneous rocks classification.

Click here to browse the complete set of Visualization Collections.


Rock Cycle, Exploring Earth (more info) This highly simplified Flash animation displays some of the most common rock-forming processes. Embedded animations include crystallization of magma to form igneous rock, rock erosion to create sediment, transportation of sediment, deposition of sediment to create sedimentary rock, and creation of a metamorphic rock in a subduction zone.

Igneous Rock Formation, Exploring Earth (more info) This Flash animation contains three separate movies, each exhibiting the formation of an igneous rocks in a different environment: a) rocks forming from a deep magma chamber where the slow cooling of magma results in large interlocking crystals; b) rocks forming from a pyroclastic flow with a combination of large and small crystals; and c) rocks with small crystals created from a fast cooling lava results.

Igneous Rocks Classification, Wiley (more info) Through a simple Flash roll over, view hand specimens of different igneous rocks classified according by texture and chemical composition. There are also views of the more common rock forming minerals. Expect long loading times.

Clastic Sedimentary Rocks Formation, Exploring Earth (more info) Find a Flash animation tracing the formation of sedimentary rock from a beach environment where sea water minerals cement sand grains to form sandstone. An inset provides details of the process. The animation concludes with an real microscopic image of sandstone showing both mineral grains and cement. The animation can be paused and rewound to stress important points.

Metamorphic rock formation, Exploring Earth (more info) The Flash animation shows the evolution of granitic igneous rock to a metamorphic rock focusing on changes in alignment of amphibole, plagioclase feldspar, and quartz crystals. An inset provides a close up of how pressure compresses mineral grains and forms new minerals. The animation can be paused and rewound to stress important points.