What is the relationship between metamorphism and tectonic plates?


Quick Answer

Tectonic plates and metamorphism are related because the geothermal gradients and metamorphic rocks produced during these phenomena are greatly affected by the movement and heating of the tectonic plates. When Earth?s lithosphere is broken up during the movement of tectonic plates, solid state re-crystallization occurs, and this process is known as metamorphism.

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Full Answer

Some of the most famous and well-known metamorphic rocks are quartzite, marble, slate, phylitte, schist and gneiss. These types of rocks differ in texture and grain. The texture and grain differences occur mostly because of the differences in amounts of heat they endure. These types of rocks comprise most of Earth?s crust.

There are several metamorphic process types that create metamorphic rocks. Tectonic plate movement is just one type of metamorphic process, though this process is usually the most common cause of the melting and re-crystallization of rocks because of the frequency of the tectonic movements that happens beneath the Earth daily. This type of metamorphism is called contact metamorphism. Magma is injected between the surrounding solid rock and is re-crystallized through time. The longer these rocks are exposed to high temperatures, the smoother and harder the metamorphic rocks that are produced. This is true with metamorphic rocks like marble.

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