Notes on Basic Geology
Notes created & information organization based on the book:
The Dynamic Earth - an introduction to physical geology"
Brian Skinner & Stephen C. Porter   (further book information here)
also look at for additional resource information
New Rocks from Old - Page 1

Metamorphic Rocks Greek: "meta" = change , "morph" = form

Metamorphic rocks by definition are formed by a change in another rock. Metamorphism can only occur inside the earth and not at the earth's crust. The changes are caused by heat, and pressure on an already existing rock.

Metamorphic rocks must change without melting, they are solid state transformations. Why? Because if they melted and recrystallized they would be igneous!

Since the changes are done in the solid state, the textures and components in the rock often store historical information about the processes they have undergone. By cataloguing metamorphic rock types and determining the conditions under which they were formed, geologist are attempting to find ancient continental boundaries.

Boundaries of Metamorphism
Metamorphic changes are defined as changes that happen with temperature over 100 C and over a few 100 Mpa. The upper limit is easily defined as the melting point of the rock. Within the range of possible metamorphic activity are two types of metamorphic change.

As we learned in the section on igneous rocks, melt temperature is directly relate to the amount of water (H2O) in the rock. If there is limited water in a rock, then initial melting will be limited to isolated areas in the rock. If a metamorphic rock is found with small areas of partial melting, then it is called a migmatite.

If more material melts, the loss in density and the migration of the melt can produce a basolith or other igneous intrusion. If the original material was metamorphic, then this combination is indicative of a subduction zone or a collision margin. When we find a large intrusive body with surrounding metamorphic rock we know the area was sometime in its history along a plate boundary.

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Defining Metamorphics
Low-grade metamorphism 100 C to 500 C / low pressure
High-grade metamorphism > 500 C / high pressure
Things that effect the metamorphic process

Initial composition
Presence fluids