Geological Cycle

The process by which rocks are created, changed, broken down and transported to form new rocks.

The cycle shows the three major groups of rocks: igneous (cooled magma), sedimentary (made of particles of other rocks or organisms) and metamorphic (deformed and altered igneous or sedimentary rocks).

All three types of rocks can be broken down into loose sediment by the effects of ice, water, sun and wind. This sediment is eventually buried beneath younger material to become compacted into sedimentary rock. If the rock is buried to depths of 10km or greater it will be converted to metamorphic rock by intense pressure and heat. Temperatures can become so high at depth that rocks may melt to form magma. Once magma has formed it tends to move towards areas of lower pressure at shallower depths in the crust where it is cooler causing it to solidify into igneous rock. The rocks of the Manx Group which make up most of the Isle of Man are transitional between sedimentary and metamorphic rocks but they also contain igneous rocks such as the granite at Foxdale.