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Magnificent Rocks of New Brunswick

Where do the Magnificent Rocks of New Brunswick come from?

Geologic processes that happen at the surface and deep within the planet form the rocks we see around us. The Earth’s thin crust consists of rocks classified by how they were formed. Igneous rocks form when molten material cools and solidifies. Igneous rocks erupt on the surface as volcanoes or cool slowly within the Earth’s crust, visible only when uncovered by weathering and erosion. Sedimentary rocks form by the erosion of older rocks as wind, water, or glaciers lay down sediments, or when dissolved minerals are deposited. Layers of sediment harden over time into solid rock. Metamorphic rocks develop when heat and pressure transform existing rocks into a new type of rock, such as when limestone is heated to create marble.

Colour graphic of the rock cycle: weathering, heat, melting and cooling

Any rock type, igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary, can be transformed into any other type. Metamorphic and igneous rock through weathering and erosion become sediments that through compaction and cementation, become sedimentary rock. Sedimentary and igneous rocks may become metamorphic rock through heat and pressure. Metamorphic rock, through a repeated cycle of melting into magma and cooling may become igneous rock.

The history of the Earth is recorded in rocks that are constantly being formed, changed, destroyed and re-formed. Geologists use the rock cycle to explain how rocks are created and changed, and how different rock types are related. Molten lava erupting from a volcano creates new igneous rocks. The exposed rock is then broken down by weathering and the resulting sediments deposited to become sedimentary rock. These rocks may eventually be buried deep within the earth where they are cooked under pressure to become metamorphic rocks. Or they might melt, creating the raw material for the new igneous rocks. Rocks rarely go through the entire rock cycle. Instead, some steps may be skipped or repeated. Any rock type, igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary, can be transformed into any other type.

Triple colour image of brown striped rock, gray rock with hammer for scale and gray rock face