The seating wall on the western side is for classes to meet in the Outdoor Classroom.
The Outdoor Geology Classroom is based on the Rock Cycle—the cyclic processes of Earth materials as driven by Plate Tectonics—and is meant to permit immersion in the materials and their connected tectonic processes.
The illustrative signage is used as a guide for all visitors and includes background information on the Rock Cycle and tectonic plate motions, as well as explanations of the materials used and the five different Earth materials they represent:
Numbered arrows on the sign illustrate the five connecting Rock Cycle processes:
The Rock Cycle is presented inside the circle, and representative rocks are outside the circle on the opposite side of the seating wall.
This image is part of the sign on location at the Outdoor Geology Classroom. Click here for a full image of the sign.
Weathering and erosion (1), and metamorphism (3) connect several components in more than one path.
The other processes are one way only between just two components. Sedimentary rocks are the only product of lithification (2) of sediment. The process of melting (4) to form magma/lava is exclusive in metamorphic rocks because only metamorphic rocks get hot enough in the Rock Cycle to melt.
Metamorphic rocks are the only rocks to be buried deep enough. [Melting of rocks occurs as a result of meteor impacts, but impacts from space rocks are not part of the Rock Cycle.]
After melting has produced magma/lava, only igneous rocks are formed from crystallization (5) of the magma/lava.
Click here for information about the materials used to represent Earth components.
Back to Top
Some content on this page is saved in PDF format. To view these files, download Adobe Acrobat Reader free. If you are having trouble reading a document, request an accessible copy of the PDF or Word Document.