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[met-uh-mawr-fiz-uh m] /ˌmɛt əˈmɔr fɪz əm/
Geology. a change in the structure or constitution of a rock due to natural agencies, as pressure and heat, especially when the rock becomes harder and more completely crystalline.
Archaic. metamorphosis.
Origin of metamorphism
1835-45; meta- + -morphism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for metamorphism
Historical Examples
  • The metamorphic rocks are associated with bands of epidiorite which have shared in the folding and metamorphism of the region.

  • Nor is the metamorphism of the invaded rock limited to simple intrusion.

  • All of the chemical, mineralogical, and textural changes in rocks above described may be collectively referred to as metamorphism.

  • A common cause of the metamorphism of rocks is the intrusion into them of igneous rocks.

    Geology William J. Miller
  • Often no granite or other intrusive rock is present which may be regarded as the cause of the metamorphism.

  • This state of things is called general, or normal, metamorphism.

  • The metamorphism is more striking in the first change than in the second.

    A Journey in Other Worlds John Jacob Astor
  • How is metamorphism on the large scale supposed to have been induced?

    Geology James Geikie
  • An important result of metamorphism is the production of new minerals in the rocks acted on.

    North America Israel C. Russell
  • Whether the rocks below the zone of metamorphism are fused or not depends on pressure.

    North America Israel C. Russell
British Dictionary definitions for metamorphism


the process by which metamorphic rocks are formed
a variant of metamorphosis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for metamorphism

1837, from metamorphic + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metamorphism in Science
The process by which rocks are changed in composition, texture, or structure by extreme heat and pressure. ◇ In prograde metamorphism metamorphic rocks that were formed under low pressure and temperature conditions undergo a second metamorphic event in which they are exposed to higher pressures and temperatures. ◇ In retrograde metamorphism metamorphic rocks that were formed under high pressure and temperature conditions undergo a second metamorphic event in which they are exposed to lower pressures and temperatures. See more at contact metamorphism, regional metamorphism.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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