The rock cycle shows the various
geologic processes that act to transform one rock type into another. From
sedimentary rock, to metamorphic rock, to igneous rock, and back around again.
Let’s say that the rock cycle starts with sediment. The sediment is then
lithified to form sedimentary rock. From there, it can go two ways. It can be
transformed into metamorphic rock by the head and pressure when it is buried
deep within the crust or it can be weathered/transported back into its original
form. In reaching the metamorphic form, it is then melted into magma from being
deep beneath the Earth’s surface or transformed back into sediment. The magma
is then goes through crystallization to form igneous rock. And from igneous
rock, it is either transformed to metamorphic rock or broken down back into

Another name for the continental
lithosphere is the continental crust. This layer consists of the continents and
the continental shelves that are made from igneous and sedimentary rocks.
Although the oceanic crust is considered to be thicker than the continental
crust, the continental crust is less dense. The reason why Earth’s crust is
made of 70% of the continental crust and covered in about 40% if it is because
of a process that was a result of volcanism and subduction. Now the difference
between the continental lithosphere and the oceanic lithosphere is that the
oceanic lithosphere is denser than the continental lithosphere and is mainly
made of a mafic crust and ultramafic mantle. Moving away from the mid-ocean
ridge, the hot asthenosphere is converted into lithospheric mantle due to
conductive cooling. This causes it to thicken. When tectonic plates come
together, the mature oceanic lithosphere sinks underneath the overriding
lithosphere. New oceanic lithosphere is recycled back into the subduction zones
because it is constantly being produced, making the oceanic lithosphere much
younger than the continental lithosphere. 

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