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In this lab students receive two small blocks (1 cm3) of chocolate (white and dark), and follow it through the entire rock cycle. The chocolate blocks are melted on a hot plate, with different melting temperatures and rheologies due to compositional differences. The "magma" is then cooled either slowly or quickly, and the resulting textures are examined and compared to granite and basalt hand samples. The "igneous" chocolate is then ground and abraded to show erosion, and the eroded material is pressure-lithified to form "sedimentary" chocolate. The sedimentary chocolate then undergoes greater pressure to mimic metamorphism, and additional heat re-melts the chocolate back into magma. Students compare the chocolate "rocks" in each of these stages with real rock samples. The final assignment is to describe the "life story" of complex conglomerate rock sample. The lab is a bit messy and takes a bit of preparation, but students come away with a significantly better understanding of the rock cycle as a whole and each of its component parts.
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