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METAMORPHIC ROCK

We have looked at igneous rock and sedimentary rock. Now, we're going to check out metamorphic rocks. (Say "met-ta- MORE-fick.") The samples we have are gneiss ("nice"), shist (just like it is spelled, "shist"), quartzite ("QUART-site"), slate ("slayt"), and marble (pronounced just like the ones you shoot).

Metamorphic rock was formed from igneous rock and/or sedimentary rock which was under GREAT heat and pressure for a LONG, LONG time.

Get out your geology notebooks, and make lists, describing the shapes, colors, textures, relative weights, and any other characteristics you happen to notice, of each rock. Try to fracture them with rock hammers (making sure to take safety precautions such as wearing goggles, and having the rock in a sack before you smack it). List the ways in which the different rocks fracture, and whether or not they have crystals. Check them with a hand lens. List what you see.

Compare them to each other, and to other kinds of igneous or sedimentary rocks, listing the similarities and differences.

The following information may be helpful:

a. Gneiss.

Gneiss is formed from igneous granite by pressure and heat. The crystalline fragments within the two kinds of rock -- granite and gneiss -- can be compared.

b. Schist.

Schist is formed from sedimentary conglomerate by pressure and heat.

c. Quartzite.

Quartzite is formed from sedimentary sandstone by pressure and heat. With a hand lens, note how the sand grains have been reduced in size through the crushing
action of great pressures.


d. Slate.

Slate is formed from sedimentary shale by pressure and heat. Find out if wet slate smells like wet shale. (It does, but faintly.)

If the chalkboard in the classroom is an old-style blackboard, examine it to see if it is made of slate. Some buildings have slate roofs. They are fireproof, but very heavy, which makes them dangerous during an earthquake.

e. Marble.

Marble is formed from sedimentary limestone by pressure and heat. Compare a piece of marble with a piece of limestone to note similarities and differences between them.

Both marble and limestone can be subjected to a vinegar test. If the marble is crushed with a hammer, it will react visibly in vinegar.

You have probably already figured out that the rock called "marble" is not the same stuff of which game marbles are made. Game marbles are usually made of glass.

 
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