Since I love earth science, and I’m a massive nerd with too much time on my hands, I’ve decided to transform my blog about nothing, into earth science reference material for myself, and other teachers looking to expand their teaching horizons!
So I’m going to give an introductory lesson on rocks, and the rock cycle to brush up on my knowledge.
OK, so first things first. If you’re a middle school student who doesn’t care about rocks, you probably don’t know the basic of what a rock is in the first place. So here we go.
Rocks are made up of minerals, one or more respectably.
Minerals are made up of elements. For example, minerals such as gold and copper are made up of one element. If you look on the periodic table (which you probably won’t) they are denoted as such: Gold (Au) Copper (Cu), but minerals can be made up of several elements. They are homogeneous throughout, meaning a mineral will have a uniform property and a definite chemical composition.
So what does that mean, right? Lets take the feldspar group of minerals as an example.
First off, whats a feldspar? Ummm, I’m going to use princeton.edu definition which is “any of a group of hard crystalline minerals that consist of aluminum silicates of potassium or sodium or calcium or barium”
Wow. How exciting. So lets break it down a little. I’m going to use a mineral in the feldspar group called Albite. Albite is a mineral whose chemistry consists of the element Na (Sodium), Al (Aluminum) Si (subscript 3) O (subscript 8) Silicate.
That’s pretty interesting I guess? Alright not really unless you like minerals, and are creepy. So basically that is one mineral out of a lot of minerals that at the middle school level you probably won’t need to know.Albite would be written as NaAlSi3O8. ENJOY.
OK, so what else do you want to know. OBVIOUSLY what an igneous rock is!
So what is an igneous rock exactly? An igneous rock will form when molten rock is cooled.
There are two types of igneous rocks, that are classified as volcanic and plutonic. The difference between the two is, a volcanic igneous rock cools much more quickly at the earths surface, while a plutonic igneous rock, cools far slower way way down below the earths surface.
(I’m tired… I’ll do another rock lesson later on, introducing metamorphic, sedimentary and go into the rock cycle)