Parent rock, also referred to as substratum, refers to the original rock from which something else was formed. It is mainly used in the context of soil formation where the parent rock (or parent material) normally has a large influence on the nature of the resulting soil. For example,clay soil is derived from shale while sandy soil comes from the weathering of sandstones. The term is also used in the context of metamorphic rocks where again the parent rock or protolith refers to the original rock before metamorphism takes place. Parent rocks can be sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic.
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