What is the relationship between the rock cycle and plate tectonics?

1 Answer
Dec 18, 2017

Plate Tectonics are key to the rock cycle, forming igneous rocks and recycling sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.


Basaltic igneous rocks are extruded at mid ocean ridges caused by divergent boundaries. Granite igneous rocks are extruded at volcanos caused by hot spots, and convergent plate boundaries like subduction zones. All igneous rocks the basis of the rock cycle are formed by plate tectonics.

The igneous rocks are eroded and turned into sedimentary rocks.
The sedimentary rocks layers generally tend to be recycled by plate tectonics. The deep ocean sediments are turned back into igneous rocks where they are pushed back into the mantle at subduction zones. This movement from igneous to sedimentary back to igneous is a major part of the rock cycle.

The heat from the mantle that fuels plate tectonics causes both igneous and sedimentary rocks to be turned into metamorphic rocks. The metamorphic rocks can be eroded into sedimentary rocks are remelted back into igneous. rocks. So the movement of metamorphic rocks in the rock cycle is also driven by plate tectonics.