Statement too Restrictive?

From: Darryl Maddox (
Date: Mon Mar 10 2003 - 06:54:20 EST

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    I would like to ask the group for comments on the following statement:

    "All rocks are the result of physical processes acting on the materials available."

    I originally wrote it as:

    "All rocks are the result of natural processes acting on the materials available."

    Then I decided the word natural might be too restrictive and so changed it to physical.

    So, my question are:

    Q1) As far as you know and in your opinion is this an accurate statement?

    Q2) Do you think it is possible that there are physical processes that are not "natural"?

    I define "natural processes" as those which fit into one or more of the following categories:
    A) we are capable of understanding and describing them in terms of either verbal or mathematical models,
    B) they can be shown to fit into and to be consistent with the rest of the physical principles and processes of which we are aware;
    c) they do not flatly and irreconsilably contradict physical principles or other physical processes which are consistent with physical principles.

    Q3 If there are, or are found to be, phyical processes which are not natural processes do you know of any means other than conditions A-C above by which we would recongize either their current existence or that they had occurred in the past?

    I ask these questions, and came up with the statment, in the context of trying to find a simple way to make my historical geology students understand why each sedimentary enviroment (and now I realize this applies to igneous and metamorphic environments as well) has its own set of physical processes and that the interaction of the processes and the various materials available in that environment, create statistically definable rock types, depositional and deformational strutures and rock fabrics, as well as vertical and lateral sequences of these.


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