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Properties of Rocks



Properties of Rocks
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.4

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    understanding, metamorphic, sedimentary, composition, silicon, igneous, crystallize, susceptible, hypothesis, atomic, weakness, resistant, relationship, geologist, impact, observation


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Properties of Rocks
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Forces inside the Earth and on the surface are responsible for rock formation on our planet. When you look at a rock on the Earth's surface, you are getting a glimpse at its chemical composition and the composition of its minerals. The chemical stability of rocks has a huge impact on the life of rocks. A rock's chemical stability will determine the rate at which it weathers and breaks apart. The stability of rocks also affects how rocks and minerals form. Thanks to a scientist during the early 1900s, we now have an understanding of the mineral crystallization process.
 
2     N.L. Bowen, a Canadian geologist, developed the Bowen's reaction series in 1928. This series explains the order that minerals crystallize or form as magma cools and solidifies. Bowen studied the crystallization process and learned that some minerals crystallize first. During this process, the forming minerals remove certain elements from the magma, changing its composition. Once this occurs, other minerals with different elements begin to form. From this observation, Bowen learned that different minerals form at different times during the magma solidification process and form in the same order. His simple flow chart, the reaction series, was born.
 
3     Bowen also developed a hypothesis that explained the two ways that minerals form. He stated that minerals form continuously over time. The second way is through sudden changes in the type of minerals formed. The chemical composition of magma also affects the formation of these minerals. In fact, it may determine the order in which the minerals form. Since we are talking about composition, let's look at the chemical stability of minerals and the physical stability of rocks.

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