The short answer is no, metamorphic rocks do not have fossils.
Because these rocks are formed at extremely high heats, and with a lot of pressure, they are not good candidates to host fossils.
We’ll explore more about metamorphic rocks and explain why fossils aren’t found in them throughout this article.
Do Metamorphic Rocks Have Fossils? (EXPLAINED)
What are Metamorphic Rocks?
The meaning of the word metamorphic is “changed form.”
All Metamorphic rocks began as another type of rock that were then changed from their original type of rock, such as igneous or sedimentary, into their metamorphic state.
These rocks form when they are subjected to high pressure, high heat, or hot fluids with minerals in them.
Very often some of these factors are combined to contribute to the forming of the rock.
These types of conditions are usually found where tectonic plates meet deep under the earth’s surface.
In order for these conditions to create a new metamorphic rock, it’s vital that the rock does not melt.
If it does, it becomes magma instead and then it will be an igneous rock, not a metamorphic rock.
Although it is not as common, metamorphic rocks can also be formed by magma.
Metamorphic rocks are incredibly strong rocks and they have a wide range of colors and lusters.
There are many different kinds of metamorphic rocks, but some of the most common types of metamorphic rocks are:
- Schist (formed from slate that has been subjected to tremendous heat and pressure)
- Gneiss (formed from granite that has been subjected to tremendous heat and pressure)
- Marble (formed when limestone is subjected to tremendous heat and pressure)
- Slate (formed from shale that has been subjected to tremendous heat and pressure)
- Serpentine (formed from the igneous rock periodite after it has been subjected to tremendous heat and pressure)
Metamorphic rocks can be foliated or non-foliated.
Foliated metamorphic rocks have parallel bands of grain present in them.
Non-foliated metamorphic rocks have no bands of grain present in them.
What are Metamorphic Rocks Used For?
Metamorphic rocks are actually used for more purposes than you might think.
Some metamorphic rock is easier to work with and manipulate than others.
The following metamorphic rocks have common uses:
- Quartzite, marble, schist and slate are commonly used as building materials.
- Quartzite and marble are also used in forms of artwork.
- Marble is also used for artwork and statues.
- When it is ground up, marble is a component to create toothpaste, plastics and paper.
- Crushed up quartzite is used for building railroad tracks.
- Lead for pencils is made of graphite, which is commonly found in metamorphic rocks.
Do Metamorphic Rocks Have Fossils?
Because metamorphic rocks are formed by extreme high heat and pressure, they are not good places for fossils to be found.
The heat and pressure that metamorphic rocks go through during their formation virtually guarantees that any organism that could attempt to be fossilized with the rock would be destroyed.
What Kind of Rocks Do Host Fossils?
Fossils can be found in sedimentary rocks. When an organism is buried in sediment, it is sheltered from other organisms and from decay because of the elements. There are several types of sedimentary rock that are more likely to have fossils in them. These are mudstone, shale and limestone. Fossils are usually buried in layers of sedimentary rock. The deeper the fossil, the older the organism is.
What Else Should You Know About Metamorphic Rocks?
- Metamorphic rocks make up approximately 12% of the Earth’s surface and a significant amount of the Earth’s crust. The occurrence of metamorphic rock on the surface is visible and accessible because of the effects of erosion on the layers that were above it.
- Metamorphic rocks that contain certain minerals known as index minerals, can give us information about what temperature and pressure the rocks experienced when they were formed. These minerals are sillimanite, kyanite, staurolite, andalusite, garnet.
- The Taj Mahal in India, is considered one of the most magnificent structures in the world and it was built entirely out of metamorphic rock, marble.
- Quartzite is among the hardest and most resistant of all rocks.
- It can take hundreds of thousands or even millions of years for a metamorphic rock to undergo the process of formation.
- Low grade metamorphic rocks are subjected to lower pressures and temperatures and can still closely resemble the rock they originated from.
- High grade metamorphic rocks have been exposed to such high levels of heat and pressure that they no longer bear any resemblance to the rock they originated from.
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