Updated Thursday, 28th September 2006
A brief description of the nature of serpentine

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Serpentine is a metamorphic rock. It can be fine-grained and glossy or sometimes dull and coarse-grained. Serpentine is green, or greyish-green and it feels very slippery.

It usually looks broken or layered and is made up of flat plates of green rock, which appear scratched.

Polished serpentine A polished piece of serpentine

How was it formed?
Rocks which can be metamorphosed to serpentine were originally formed from magmas that were very rich in iron and magnesium. These rocks are often found in the oceanic crust.

They can be changed to serpentine during a collision of the Earth’s plates when giant slices of the oceanic crust are pushed up into the rocks of the continent.


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