Deforming rocks in the laboratory main content.

Deforming rocks in the laboratory

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Eight cylinder-shaped samples of marble displayed from left to right in different states of deformation. An explanation panel states how rocks deform under heat and pressure. AMNH/R.Mickens

Geologists conduct experiments on rocks to discover how they respond to heat and pressure. The results show what happens to rocks when they are buried at depth, and they help researchers to understand how geological structures observed in the field may have formed. Each of these marble cylinders above was compressed at high temperature and different pressures to illustrate how rocks behave under different conditions.