Rocks and Minerals - Britannica Illustrated Science Library

Rocks and Minerals - Britannica Illustrated Science Library

(Parte 1 de 25)

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Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Chicago ■London ■New Delhi ■Paris ■Seoul ■Sydney ■Taipei ■Tokyo

Britannica Illustrated Science LibraryBritannica Illustrated Science Library

© 2008 Editorial Sol 90 All rights reserved.

Idea and Concept of This Work: Editorial Sol 90 Project Management: Fabián Cassan

Photo Credits: Corbis, ESA, Getty Images, Graphic News, NASA, National Geographic, Science Photo Library

Illustrators: Guido Arroyo, Pablo Aschei, Gustavo J. Caironi, Hernán Cañellas, Leonardo César, José Luis Corsetti, Vanina Farías, Joana Garrido, Celina Hilbert, Isidro López, Diego Martín, Jorge Martínez, Marco Menco, Ala de Mosca, Diego Mourelos, Eduardo Pérez, Javier Pérez, Ariel Piroyansky, Ariel Roldán, Marcel Socías, Néstor Taylor, Trebol Animation, Juan Venegas, Coralia Vignau, 3DN, 3DOM studio, Jorge Ivanovich, Fernando Ramallo, Constanza Vicco, Diego Mourelos

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Portions © 2008 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Encyclopædia Britannica, Britannica, and the thistle logo are registered trademarks of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Britannica Illustrated Science Library Staff

Editorial Michael Levy, Executive Editor, Core Editorial John Rafferty, Associate Editor, Earth Sciences William L. Hosch, Associate Editor, Mathematics and


Kara Rogers, Associate Editor, Life Sciences Rob Curley, Senior Editor, Science and Technology David Hayes, Special Projects Editor

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Britannica IllustratedScience LibraryBritannica Illustrated Science Library

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International Standard Book Number (set): 978-1-59339-797-5

International Standard Book Number (volume): 978-1-59339-799-9

Britannica Illustrated Science Library: Rocks and Minerals 2008

Printed in China

Rocks and Minerals Rocks and Minerals

ContentsPHOTOGRAPH ON PAGE 1 A stone with a blue opal in its center is a product of time, since it forms over millions of years.

Dynamics of the Earth's Crust

Page 6

Formation and Transformation of Rocks

Page 40

Use of Rocks and Minerals

Minerals Page 18

Classes of Rocks Page 60

ocks, like airplane flight recorders, store in their interior very useful information about what has happened in the past. Whether forming caves in the middle of mountains, mixed among folds, or lying at the bottom of lakes and oceans, stones are everywhere, and they hold clues to the past. By studying rocks, we can reconstruct the history of the Earth. Even the most insignificant rocks can tell stories about other times, because rocks have been around since the beginning of the universe. They were part of the cloud of dust and gases that revolved around the Sun over four billion years ago. Rocks have been silent witnesses to the cataclysms our planet has experienced. They know the cold of the glacial era, the intense heat of the Earth's interior, and the fury of the oceans. They store much information about how external agents, such as wind, rain, ice, and temperature changes, have been altering the planet's surface for millions of years.

or ancient civilizations, stones symbolized eternity. This idea has persisted throughout time because stones endure, but they are recycled time and again. Fifty million years from now, nothing will be as we now know it—not the Andes, nor the Himalayas, nor the ice of Antarctica, nor the Sahara Desert. Weathering and erosion, though slow, will never stop. This should free us from any illusion of the immortality of the Earth's features. What will everything be like in the future? We don't know. The only sure thing is that there will be rocks. Only stones will remain, and their chemical composition, shape, and texture will provide clues about previous geological events and about what the Earth's surface was like in the past. In the pages of this book, illustrated with stunning images, you will find invaluable information about the language of rocks and natural forces in general. You will also learn to identify the most important minerals, know their physical and chemical properties, and discover the environments in which they form.

id you know that the Earth's crust and its oceans are sources of useful and essential minerals for human beings? Coal, petroleum, and natural gas found in the crust allow us to travel and to heat our homes. Furthermore, practically all the products that surround us have elements provided by rocks and minerals. For example, aluminum is used to produce beverage cans; copper is used in electric cables; and titanium, mixed with other durable metals, is used in the construction of spacecraft. We invite you to enjoy this book. It is full of interesting and worthwhile information. Don't miss out on it!

Memory of the Planet

THE MONK'S HOUSE This orthodox monk lives in a volcanic cave, very close to the 1 Christian churches located in the Ethiopian town of Lalibela.

Dynamics of the Earth's Crust

he Earth is like a blender in which rocks are moved around, broken, and crumbled. The fragments are deposited, forming different layers. Then weathering and erosion by wind and rain wear down and transform the rock. This produces mountains, cliffs, and sand dunes, among other features. The deposited material settles into layers of sediment that eventually become sedimentary rock. This rock cycle never stops. In 50 million years, no single mountain we know will exist in the same condition as it does today.


MOUNTAINS OF SAND Corkscrew Canyon in Arizona contains an array of shapes, colors, and textures. The sand varies from pink to yellow to red depending on the sunlight it receives.

Climate Consolidation begins under a rain of meteors.

The Earth cools and the first ocean is formed.

The oldest minerals, such as zircon, form.

The oldest rocks metamorphose, forming gneiss.

1,100 Rodinia, an early supercontinent, forms.

(Parte 1 de 25)