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Free «Geochronology: The Problem of Metamorphism in Present Time» Essay Sample


Geochronology is defined as the science of determining and dating the periodic progression of events or rather proceedings, which happened a long time ago throughout the globe. This branch of science assists in establishing the approximate age of sediments, fossils, and rocks; the radiometric technique commonly employed involves the measuring of the radioactive decay quantity to ascertain the fixed ages of the original material (Vance 2). A major method employed by scientists in dating prehistoric events includes the use of rocks. Therefore, the study basically is interested in geologic researching and mapping, which assist in determining the composition and age of rocks. On the other hand, metamorphism is the solid-state modifications of already pre-existing igneous or sedimentary rocks. These rocks change due to variations in chemically dynamic fluids, pressure, heat, as well as chemical and physical conditions.

There are numerous factors, which drive metamorphism, and they include water, chemically dynamic fluids, lithostatic (burial) pressure, gravitational compression, radioactivity, frictional sliding of earth plates, and heat. All these agents are vital as they ensure that the process of metamorphism goes on uninterrupted up to reaching the desired end. Even though this process takes a considerably long time to be completed, it is important that the conditions, which basically include pressure, and heat are more or less constant so as to ensure that a successful metamorphic process takes place (Sanislav, and Shah 386).  



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There have been several problems, which affect present metamorphism and they highly influence the process of metamorphism. The lower limit temperatures needed for successful metamorphism are between 100-200 °C. However, some scientists argue that there are no lower limits of pressure even though some forms of metamorphism have been known to happen at exceptionally low temperatures. Seemingly, the maximum temperatures of the process of metamorphosis are between 700-900 °C and this amount depends on the composition of the pre-existing rock, as well as the pressure available.

The chemicals within a rock emanate from different sources where a major supply of these chemicals is water. Therefore, the composition of a rock has to be in good chemical equilibrium for metamorphic process to take place. The process of deformation works between the pressure and temperature medium and also the rocks’ composition, which then has to undergo chemical equilibrium so that the process is complete. Present metamorphism is highly affected by the environmental changes that have been brought up by massive global industrialization. Industrialization has brought about structural changes or rather rocks composition and also affected the agents responsible for driving a metamorphism.

The process of deformation basically affects the flow of heat and fluid and goes further to run the porphyroblast nucleation. The nucleation energy blockade is reduced, and this gives speedy access and elimination of resources to a reaction site within the rock. All these occurrences are controlled by the external environment, which, in this case, can be termed as the climate. Even though the mineral sites are known to be controlled highly by strain localization, researches have shown the connection between the process of metamorphism and the current nature of the world’s climate coupled with different  human activities like mining.

The lower Earth’s crust is majorly inaccessible; therefore, carrying out studies concerning the high temperature and pressure rocks are quite difficult since the process is usually a high-pressure and temperature incident. The process of mining highly influences the present processes of metamorphism in that surface and deep mining leaves enormous pits. This economic activity involves excavation of minerals, as well as chemicals, from the lower lithosphere. Nevertheless, these chemicals and minerals are required in the process of metamorphism since they are essential agents, which drive the process. Lack of these chemicals and minerals would cause a chemical imbalance thus hindering with the formation of metamorphic rocks.

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Moreover, being a key agent in the process of metamorphism water is affected by the ore remnants and they become a major source of sediment and water pollution. The production of acid quarry drainage is transported into large water bodies, ponds, streams, and also soil water. In addition, this process results in acidic water leaching heavy metals like manganese, aluminum, arsenic, lead, copper, and nickel received from slag and mine tailings. Since water is the vital media, through which the exchange of ions between a rock and the solution occurs, this acidic media poses a problem as it prevents the process of exchanging ions thus interfering with metamorphism.

Global warming has been on the rise for the past decade majorly due to industrialization and people foregoing the taking care of the environment. Human activities have been known to be the key causes of global warming. For instance, pollution of both water and the environment has been going on for the past decades, and this has cost much to the process of metamorphism. The release of green house gases from the burning of fossil fuels like methane and carbon dioxide and is responsible for bringing the rapture of the ozone layer and global warming in general (Markham n. p.).  

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Overpopulation has been a growing concern worldwide as the more people live on Earth, the more food and means of transportation are required. Therefore, more agricultural activities would be undertaken in the nearest future. Moreover, they will be coupled with the use of fertilizers so as to increase the crops’ productivity rate that, in turn, will increase environmental pollution. To acquire more farming land, deforestation activities are then carried out, and this causes the increase in carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. This fact is detrimental as an increase in green house gases causes global warming directly. Moreover, more population means more automobiles and consequently more pollution (Markham n. p.).

The effects of global warming are more damaging than many people seem to acknowledge, many areas have suffered adverse droughts and draining of underground water bodies. Water is an essential agent of metamorphism and, once it has become unavailable, the whole process would stall. In present times, the process of metamorphism has been minimal due to the negative impact of global warming. This factor makes it possible to carry out geochronology since the isotopes required to carry out the radiometric technique are not present in the rocks.

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Massive flooding has been associated with global warming, and this phenomenon coupled with weathering has been responsible for altering metamorphic rocks to sedimentary rocks. As the metamorphic rock becomes exposed at the surface, it comes in contact with weathering processes, which breaks it down into tinierpieces. Then flash flooding brings in erosion, which transports the rock particles and deposits them in valleys where they assemble and turn into layer after layer. Through lithification, the sediments are compacted together forming a sedimentary rock, but this process has been denying the scientists the chance to determine the chronology of the metamorphic rocks.


Geologists always try to determine the chronology of events and age of things, majorly rocks. However, the present era has been putting obstacles in terms of carrying out geochronology since human activities have interfered with the proceedings of events. Global warming is mainly caused by people; actually, their deeds are making it difficult to carry out chronologies of stones. These deeds generally mess up the whole process of metamorphism. 


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