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Metamorphic Rock Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

Rocks are everywhere! You see them every day in lots of different places, but did you know that there are three types of rocks? This lesson will teach you all about metamorphic rocks and how they are formed.

What Are Metamorphic Rocks?

Rocks are divided into three main categories: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Metamorphic rocks are formed when there is a change in the heat or the pressure of their environment. Any rock, including igneous and sedimentary rocks, can become metamorphic rocks when the temperature or pressure changes. The word metamorphic means to change form, so that's what metamorphic rocks do!

How Do Metamorphic Rocks Form?

A few different events can change the heat and pressure and cause rocks to become metamorphic rocks: pressure deep inside the Earth, continental collisions (when continents shift and press against one another), or heat from magma and lava in volcanoes. Metamorphic rocks are often found in mountainous areas.

There are two types of metamorphism: contact metamorphism and regional metamorphism. Contact metamorphism, also called thermal metamorphism, is when magma changes broken rocks near the surface of the Earth.

This diagram shows how contact metamorphism takes place.
contact metamorphism

Regional metamorphism is when magma changes rocks deep inside the Earth. Regional metamorphism causes rocks to form that are divided into different layers through a process called foliation.

Examples of Metamorphic Rocks

  • Slate is a type of metamorphic rock that was first part of a lake or ocean bottom. Slate is a dark, smooth rock. Slate can turn into another kind of metamorphic rock called schist.

slate
slate

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