Metamorphic Rocks: Pressure and the Candy Bar (page 2)
Rocks undergo transformations, depending on the physical conditions surrounding them. If sedimentary rocks, which are made of layers of material, or igneous rocks, which are made of cooled lava or magma, are exposed to high pressures and temperatures, they can be changed into metamorphic rocks. The process of changing is a very slow one that occurs deep within the Earth. This activity will help you visualize what happens when a rockmorphs into its metamorphic form.
Snack-size candy bar that has been cut in half (a candy bar with several ingredients, like peanuts, caramel, and so on, works best); Two blocks of wood (larger than the candy bar); Two pieces of wax paper (about the same size as the blocks of wood); Crayons
- Look at the cut side of the candy bar. Sketch the appearance of the cut side, including any layers, and color the layers to differentiate what you see.
- Place one piece of wax paper on the block of wood, then put the candy bar on the wax paper. Place another piece of wax paper on top of the candy bar, then the second block of wood.
- Use your hands to press down on the top block of wood to flatten the candy bar. You may need to stand on the block if you cannot exert sufficient pressure with your hands.
- Reexamine the cut side of the candy bar. Sketch its appearance once again.
- Did your original sketch have layers? If so, describe them.
- After you exerted pressure on the candy bar, how many layers could you see in the cut side?
- Explain how this activity describes what happens during the formation of metamorphic rocks.
- Answers will vary.
- Answers will vary, but students may not be able to see any layers.
- When rock is exposed to extreme pressure, it changes in appearance.
Sedimentary rocks are made from tiny particles of soil washed down streams into deposits that become thicker each year. Over time these deposits form sedimentary rocks. Think of a demonstration you could do to show a classmate how sedimentary rocks are formed.
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