Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Nicholas Arndt
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1384-3


Rock is the naturally occurring solid material of the Earth. Its composition is variable, depending on its mode of formation and the types of constituent minerals and organic substances. There are three main types of rock: igneous rocks, which form by solidification of magma, either slowly and deep within the crust (plutonic rocks) or by rapid cooling at a planet’s surface (volcanic rocks); sedimentary rocks, which either result from the crystallization of chemically precipitated substances (on Earth commonly biologically mediated), the deposition and cementation of detrital grains, or the lithification of organic substances; and metamorphic rocks, which are produced when the other two types of rocks are subjected to elevated temperatures and pressures.

See Also


Elevated Temperature Volcanic Rock Bioorganic Chemistry Organic Substance Sedimentary Rock 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maison des GéosciencesLGCA, Université J. FourierSt-Martin d’HèresFrance