Which type of metamorphism turns peridotite to serpentine?
Though rocks and the crust of the Earth seem stagnant on the timescale of a human life, they are actually dynamic. All metamorphic changes that occur to a rock can be traced to the root causes of heat and pressure. Pressure makes some crystal lattice formations more advantageous than others, and heat allows thermodynamic barriers to atomic rearrangement to be overcome.
Answer and Explanation:
Peridotite is often found in lower strata, near the upper mantle. It is created under these conditions of high temperature and pressure. When tectonic forces push a formation of peridotite to the surface, the lower temperature and pressure destabilizes the rock and it becomes on of either serpentine, magnetite, or brucite. This often happens on seafloors. During the process, water is absorbed into the rock, lowering its density and disrupting the regular peridotite structure. The process is very exothermic, and can create hydrothermal vents as the surrounding water begins to undergo convection.
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from Earth Science 101: Earth ScienceChapter 11 / Lesson 2