EPSC 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Debris Flow, Clastic Rock, Subduction
DepartmentEarth & Planetary Sciences
Course CodeEPSC 201
ProfessorAnthony Williams- Jones
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EPSC201 - Lecture 12 Notes
What is a rock? It is an assembly of minerals. It
could be many minerals, or only one mineral. Com-
monly, rocks have about 5-10 different minerals.
Granite is a rock with a particular assembly of miner-
als. At hardware stores, they sell different types of
“granite” countertops, but they are not actually gran-
ite. Granite is usually light, but depending on impuri-
ties, it can take other colors.
Potassium feldspar in granite gives a pink color. If
the granite is white, the impurity could be albite. (al-
bite = variety of feldspar). So the color allows us to
identify types of minerals present in the granite.
Glassy mineral is quartz.
Biotite – a flaky mineral, formed from sheet silicate.
The sheets make it easy to peel
Amphibole – a dark mineral formed from chain silicate, that does NOT flake like biotite.
3 types of rocks
These rocks are formed through the rock cycle. They are all related to each other.
Igneous Rocks – igneous means fire. These rocks originate from hot molten material. Basalt is
an example of igneous rock because it formed from lava flowing out of the earth. Granite is also
an igneous rock. These rocks are formed from a liquid (magma). The process of forming a rock
from a liquid is called crystallization. These crystals clump together to make rocks.
Igneous rocks are further divided into two classes.
Plutonic Rocks – magma that inject into the earth’s crust, but do NOT make it to the sur-
face of the earth. So igneous rocks that form underground. The magma that almost
makes it to the surface is called hyperbisil. The question is at what point does magma
become hyperbisil, and the answer is arbitrary.
Volcanic – fine grained igneous rocks caused by rapid cooling. Not enough time to form
large crystals because the lava cools quickly.
Intrusive – plutonic, magma stays below the earths surface
Extrusive – volcanic, magma comes out of the earth on to the surface
Sedimentary Rocks – once igneous rocks are on the surface, they are exposed to weathering.
Chemical and physical weathering breaks down the rocks. Water breaks down rocks. As the
rocks are broken down into smaller pieces, they form sediment. If the sediment is buried, it is
turned into rock.
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Metamorphic Rocks – if the sedimentary rock is buried deep enough into the earth, or heated
enough, it is changed into a metamorphic rock. This heating changes the mineral composition.
Igneous rocks are at the beginning of the cycle. These rocks weather and compact into sedimen-
tary rocks. If this sedimentary rock are heated and buried deep enough, they turn into metamor-
phic rock. If the metamorphic rock is buried deep enough, it melts into magma, and will later form
into igneous rocks.
Hot lava is not very viscous material, so it flows like a river on the surface. As it cools, the lava
solidifies and forms a crust. It turns into a dark black material instead of the orange hot lava. The
surface of the lava cools quickly and forms a skin. As the liquid under the skin moves, the skin
folds. This type of lava is called pahoehoe. This means ropy lava, and is a Hawaiian term.
Hot lava = low viscosity (flows easily)
Glass hairs form on the surface of the lava. The wind causes little ripples in the lava, and stretch-
es it out, forming Paley’s Hairs.
Aa lava – blocky lava, Hawaiian term. It moves very slowly, so lots of time to escape it. Pahoe-
hoe lava flows about 15 km/h whereas aa lava flows meters per day.
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