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Igneous Rocks

Structure and Textures
Rocks and Uses
Earths crust is 4/5 igneous rock.
Every igneous rock begins life as magma.
As magma migrates toward the surface, some of it chills and
hardens underground into various types of igneous rocks.
Magma that makes it to the surface erupts in either flowing or
explosive volcanoes, generating lava or pyroclastic debris.
Igneous rock is formed when
molten, or partially molten,
rock solidifies.
Igneous rock-forming environments
Igneous Rocks (two categories)

Intrusive Extrusive
Magma crystallized slowly within the crust. Lava and Pyroclastic Debris
No exposure to the cool atmosphere. Extruded at surface or at very
Plutonic intrusive igneous rock at shallow levels.
great depth within crust or mantle.

Granite is Intrusive Basalt is Extrusive

Pillow Basalt
Igneous Rocks
Igneous Rocks are named on the basis of their
texture and composition.
Texture of a rock is the size and
arrangement of the minerals it
Composition of a rock is the
assemblage of minerals it
As magma crystallizes
a network of interlocking
minerals develops.

The composition and

texture of the resulting
rock is determined by
these minerals.

Phaneritic texture -
with large minerals

Large crystals had a long time to crystallize.

Therefore, this is an intrusive rock
Aphanitic texture -
mineral grains too
small to see with the
unaided eye (Basalt)

Small crystals had a short time to crystallize.

Therefore, this is an extrusive rock

A fine-grained, dark-colored rock of volcanic origin composed primarily of

plagioclase feldspar, and pyroxene, together with other minerals, usually
including olivine and ilmenite (an oxide of iron and titanium). Basalt is the
most common extrusive igneous rock on the terrestrial planets and covers
about 70% of Earths surface.
Vesicular texture
many pits from gas
escape (Basalt)

Extrusive rock.
texture - with 2
distinct grain sizes,
large and small

What is the cooling history?

Glassy texture-
without obvious
No crystals.
This is an extrusive rock.
Texture is estimated using visual grain size
(depends on crystallization history)
Igneous color (gray scale) is used to estimate chemical composition
Felsic Intermediate Mafic

Low Fe/Mg contentHigh Fe/Mg content

High Si/O contentLow Si/O content
Felsic oxygen, silicon, sodium enriched
iron, magnesium, calcium depleted
Source partial melting, continental crust

Granite -
Intermediate (pink is considered felsic)

Mafic - iron, magnesium, calcium enriched

oxygen, silicon, sodium depleted
Source mantle, oceanic crust
How do igneous rocks form in a cooling magma chamber?
Remember partial melting?

Silica (felsic) compounds melt first therefore in a cooling magma chamber

they must crystallize last

Iron-rich (mafic) compounds melt last therefore in a cooling magma chamber

they must crystallize first

last Mafic Fe/Mg/Ca first Mafic Fe/Mg/Ca

Melting Crystallizing
first Felsic Si/O/Na last Felsic Si/O/Na

Therefore cooling magma will become enriched in

Si/O as crystallization proceeds
Olivine Plagioclase
Feldspar (Ca/Na)

Igneous Rock-Forming

Mafic Felsic
Minerals Minerals

How do igneous rocks form?
Types of
Bowens Reaction Series Rocks formed

Hot Olivine
Ultramafic Ca - plagioclase Basalt
Intermediate feldspar Andesite
Biotite Na - plagioclase

Orthoclase feldspar Rhyolite
Cool Quartz
Bowens Reaction Series
This started as a theory of how to generate granite from an originally basaltic melt. (That rarely happens) It
is most useful in understanding partial melting and differentiation.
Basically, as a melt cools, minerals come out of melt in a certain order. Or, as a rock melts, they melt in the
reverse order.
For most situations, a magma only goes down two or three steps in the reaction series before it has
crystallized completely. When partial melting occurs, Bowen's reaction series is traveled from bottom to
top, and the first partial melts are usually one or two steps down from the source-rock's bulk composition.
Continuous Plagioclase feldspar
Discontinuous mafic minerals
When rock is partially melted, the minerals, and compositions of minerals, with the lowest melting points
melt first. This causes the melt to be further down Bowen's reaction series, and the restite further up
Bowen's reaction series, than the source rock. If the degree of partial melting is very high, the melt is close
to the starting composition. If the degree of partial melting is very low, the melt can be much further down
Bowen's reaction series than the source, and the restite can show almost no change.
Types of igneous rocks
Igneous rocks are mostly classified on texture (crystal size) and composition (minerals)
The textures glassy, scoriaceous, pumaceous, and tuffaceous override composition, and the rocks obsidian,
scoria, pumice, and tuff are based entirely on texture.
For phaneritic rocks, classification depends on abundances of essential minerals (quartz, plagioclase, K-
spar, and total mafics, or types of mafics if total mafics > 90%), and is aided by accessory minerals
(mafics, muscovite),
For aphanitic rocks, classification uses observed minerals and overall color (and laboratory analysis)
This is a simplified classification scheme. A more comprehensive scheme is found at

Felsic Felsic Intermediate Mafic Ultramafic

Minerals quartz, K-spar, sodic plag, int. plag, no K- calcic plag, minor very
sodic plag minor K-spar, spar, calcic plag
rare qtz.
biot, musc. amph, biot amph pyr, ol Major ol, pyr
Appearance light colored or light gray gray, salt-and- black black
(not pink to red pepper like a
reliable) Dalmatian

Phaneritic Granite Granodiorite, Diorite Gabbro Peridotite


Aphanitic Rhyolite Andesite Basalt Komatiite

(explosive) (depends on
eruption) (gentle)
Caveat Emptor
In the building industry, any phaneritic rock might be called "granite". A
"granite" countertop might be made from granite, granodiorite, diorite, or
even gabbro.
Granite (senso stricto, or at least senso geologico) or granodiorite
MIGHT, depending on the source, contain uranium or lead. (More on this
when we talk about ex-solution and ores.) Think about this when
selecting cooking utensils and surfaces.

Granite has a very specific definition. There are a lot of granite-like rocks
that nearly meet the definition of granite and are called granitoids. (For
example, a sample might have too little quartz to be a true granite, so
we'd call it a granitoid.) The composition can vary in a deposit, so we are
sometimes lax with our rock terms.
The Igneous

Granite Diorite Gabbro

Intrusive The Igneous

Rhyolite Andesite Basalt Peridotite


Felsic Intermediate Mafic Ultramafic

Igneous rock is a ubiquitous component of Earths crust
because it evolves as a product of tectonic processes.
Summary of Igneous Rocks
Igneous rocks formed from molten rock. Igneous rocks are
characterized by an interlocking crystalline texture without preferred
orientations. Igneous rocks are classified according to their texture and
composition. The composition tells where the source magma came
from, the texture tells how it cooled.
A few compositions of igneous rock are rather common, and most
possible compositions are fairly rare.
The textures pumaceous, scoriaceous, tuffaceous, and glassy
immediately determine rock name.
For phaneritic rocks, you need to determine the mineralogy and use that
to find a rock name. For aphanitic rocks, you determine mineralogy of
the phenocrysts and overall rock color, and use those to determine a
rock name.
The classification scheme used in this class is a greatly-simplified
A more comprehensive scheme can be found at
Gabbro is a dark, coarse-grained, intrusive
igneous rock chemically equivalent to basalt. It
is a plutonic rock, formed when molten magma
is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and
cools slowly into a hard, coarsely crystalline
mass. It is dense, greenish or dark-colored and
contains varied percentages of plagioclase
feldspar, pyroxene, amphibole, and olivine Plutonic rocks (also called intrusive
(called olivine gabbro when olivine is present igneous rocks) are those that have
in large quantities). Quartz gabbros are also solidified below ground.
known to occur and are probably derived from
magma that was oversaturated with silica.

Londonite (Madagascar)
It is an igneous rock with extremely coarse grain size. To elaborate, a pegmatite has the
same base constituents as granite (quartz, feldspar, mica) except the crystals are larger in
size. In basic granite, the rock forming minerals usually crystallize in sizes between 0.4 and
1 inch. In pegmatites, the minerals can crystallize into larger sizes. It is not uncommon to
find crystals over a meter in length in larger pegmatites. Large pegmatites may extend
from 5 to 100 feet thick and 100 to 1000 feet in length. Crystals can grow to tremendous
sizes, such as quartz crystals 17 feet long and 8 feet in diameter, orthoclase crystals 33
feet by 33 feet, beryl 19 or more feet in length, tourmaline crystals 10 feet long and mica
sheets with up to 68 square feet of surface area.

Kimberlite is a mica peridotite which

occurs at Kimberley, South Africa, the
source of rich deposits of diamonds.
These diamonds were originally found
in decomposed kimberlite which was
colored yellow by limonite, and so was
called "yellow ground." Deeper
workings encountered less altered
rock, undecomposed kimberlite, which
miners call "blue ground."
Kimberlite occurs in "kimberlite Peridotite is a dense, coarse
pipes," vertical columns of rock that grained ultrabasic rock, consisting
rise from deep magma reservoirs. mainly of the minerals olivine and
Porphyritic Texture

Many rocks with an overall fine-grained texture display scattered minerals that are
clearly greater than 1 mm across. This combination of two crystal size populations is
called porphyritic.

It indicates that the magma sat and cooled a bit below the Earth's surface, thus giving
time for the large crystals to grow, and then it erupted onto the surface, which allowed
the rest of the rock to cool very quickly. Porphyritic textures thus indicate two-stage
cooling histories.