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Subject: melting rocks

Can molten rock\lava be produced by heating igneous rock to 2000 degrees in a furnace?

    Although this might seem like a simple question, there are many variables that determine whether a rock will melt at a given temperature. You did not specify C or F but I assume you mean F, which would be about 1100oC.
    The type of rock is important. If you were trying to melt Hawaiian basalt lava, it would not melt, but it would glow bright orange. If you were trying to melt granite or a mixed sediment (not pure quartz or calcite, which occurs on some beaches) it would almost certainly melt. The presence of water in the rock is important to lower the melting temperature.
    Other important factors are time and grain size. The smaller the grain size and the longer you hold it at the temperature, the more likely the rock will melt.

Michael Garcia, Professor
Department of Geology and Geophysics
University of Hawaii, Honolulu HI 96822


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