Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2015 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, Daniele L. Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Daniel Rouan, Tilman Spohn, Stéphane Tirard, Michel Viso


  • Nicholas ArndtEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44185-5_1384


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.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISTerre, Université Grenoble AlpesGrenobleFrance