U.S. Highway 89 Bryce Canyon to Grand Canyon
Road damage south of Page, Arizona will impact travel between Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks. Click for a travel advisory and link to a map with suggested alternate routes: More »
Sunset Campground Construction
From April-July 2014, three new restroom facilities will be constructed in Sunset Campground. Visitors may experience construction noise and dust, as well as some campsite and restroom closures. 'Sunset Campground' webpage has additional information. More »
Bryce Point to Peekaboo Connector Trail Closure
Due to a large rockslide, the connecting trail from Bryce Point to Peekaboo Loop is closed. Trail will be reopened once repairs are made. The Peekaboo Loop is open, but must be accessed from Sunset or Sunrise Point.
Backcountry Campsite Closures
Due to bear activity at select campsites in Bryce Canyon's backcountry, two backcountry campsites have been closed until further notice: Sheep Creek and Iron Spring.
Activity 7: Rock Cycle
Rocks exist in three phases and change from one phase to another according to the types of mechanical and chemical stresses to which they are exposed. Using common table sugar, students will see how rocks change from one rock type to another when submitted to these different stresses.
Show students how rock properties change from rock type to rock type due to different processes.
All rocks are connected in a cycle of creation, change, and destruction called the Rock Cycle. The rock cycle begins with molten rock (magma below ground, lava above ground), which cools and hardens to form igneous rock. Exposure to weathering and erosional forces, break the original rock into smaller pieces. The smaller material (now called sediment) is carried away by rivers, wind, glaciers, and other means and is eventually deposited elsewhere. These sediments can then be buried and lithified (hardened), forming sedimentary rock.
Sedimentary rock can be deeply buried, subjected to heat and pressure, which over time, cause it to change its structure into a new rock, a metamorphic rock. Metamorphism is a big word meaning change. Eventually, these metamorphic rocks may be heated to the point where they again melt into magma.
Note that the rock cycle doesn't always have to work in this order; sometimes igneous rocks can be buried and metamorphosed, skipping the sedimentary rock phase, and sometimes sedimentary and metamorphic rocks can be uplifted and eroded to form new sedimentary rocks. It is also possible for rocks to remain unchanged in stable regions for long periods of time.
Rocks cycle through three rock types: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. The three rock types are connected through processes of erosion, pressure, heating and/or melting.
Ask students what is happening between each 'new' rock; heating, weathering, etc. Before each process tell students what you will do to the sugar and ask them to predict what type of rock will result.
If you have rock sugar candy you can begin the experiment with this and relate it to igneous rock.
Included National Parks and other sites:
Big Bend National Park
Utah Science Core:
2nd Grade Standard 6 Objective 1,2,3
Did You Know?
Bryce Canyon National Park has a 7.4 limiting magnitude night sky! In most rural areas of the United States, 2500 stars can be seen on a clear night. At Bryce Canyon, 7500 stars can be seen twinkling in the void! More...