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Metamorphic rocks are created by the physical or chemical alteration by heat and pressure of an existing igneous or sedimentary material into a denser form. Due to the action of plate tectonics, compression, stress and shearing forces over long periods of time, rocks can be essentially warped and deformed, causing them to be compacted into a smaller volume of space. As a consequence, metamorphic rocks are always more dense than their original material, and also much less susceptible to erosional breakdown.