Igneous rock
Overview
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 types, the others being sedimentary
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

 and metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock is the transformation of an existing rock type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism, which means "change in form". The protolith is subjected to heat and pressure causing profound physical and/or chemical change...

. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification
Freezing
Freezing or solidification is a phase change in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point. The reverse process is melting....

 of magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 or lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

. Igneous rock may form with or without crystallization
Crystallization
Crystallization is the process of formation of solid crystals precipitating from a solution, melt or more rarely deposited directly from a gas. Crystallization is also a chemical solid–liquid separation technique, in which mass transfer of a solute from the liquid solution to a pure solid...

, either below the surface as intrusive
Intrusion
An intrusion is liquid rock that forms under Earth's surface. Magma from under the surface is slowly pushed up from deep within the earth into any cracks or spaces it can find, sometimes pushing existing country rock out of the way, a process that can take millions of years. As the rock slowly...

 (plutonic) rocks or on the surface as extrusive
Extrusive (geology)
Extrusive refers to the mode of igneous volcanic rock formation in which hot magma from inside the Earth flows out onto the surface as lava or explodes violently into the atmosphere to fall back as pyroclastics or tuff...

 (volcanic
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

) rocks. This magma can be derived from partial melts of pre-existing rocks in either a planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

's mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

 or crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

. Typically, the melting is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition.
Encyclopedia
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 types, the others being sedimentary
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

 and metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock is the transformation of an existing rock type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism, which means "change in form". The protolith is subjected to heat and pressure causing profound physical and/or chemical change...

. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification
Freezing
Freezing or solidification is a phase change in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point. The reverse process is melting....

 of magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 or lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

. Igneous rock may form with or without crystallization
Crystallization
Crystallization is the process of formation of solid crystals precipitating from a solution, melt or more rarely deposited directly from a gas. Crystallization is also a chemical solid–liquid separation technique, in which mass transfer of a solute from the liquid solution to a pure solid...

, either below the surface as intrusive
Intrusion
An intrusion is liquid rock that forms under Earth's surface. Magma from under the surface is slowly pushed up from deep within the earth into any cracks or spaces it can find, sometimes pushing existing country rock out of the way, a process that can take millions of years. As the rock slowly...

 (plutonic) rocks or on the surface as extrusive
Extrusive (geology)
Extrusive refers to the mode of igneous volcanic rock formation in which hot magma from inside the Earth flows out onto the surface as lava or explodes violently into the atmosphere to fall back as pyroclastics or tuff...

 (volcanic
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

) rocks. This magma can be derived from partial melts of pre-existing rocks in either a planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

's mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

 or crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

. Typically, the melting is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition. Over 700 types of igneous rocks have been described, most of them having formed beneath the surface of Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

. These have diverse properties, depending on their composition and how they were formed.

Geological significance

The upper 16 kilometres (10 mi) of Earth's crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

 is composed of approximately 95% igneous rocks with only a thin, widespread covering of sedimentary
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

 and metamorphic
Metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock is the transformation of an existing rock type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism, which means "change in form". The protolith is subjected to heat and pressure causing profound physical and/or chemical change...

 rocks.

Igneous rocks are geologically important because:
  • their minerals and global chemistry give information about the composition of the mantle, from which some igneous rocks are extracted, and the temperature and pressure conditions that allowed this extraction, and/or of other pre-existing rock that melted;
  • their absolute ages can be obtained from various forms of radiometric dating
    Radiometric dating
    Radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks, usually based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates...

     and thus can be compared to adjacent geological strata
    Stratum
    In geology and related fields, a stratum is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers...

    , allowing a time sequence of events;
  • their features are usually characteristic of a specific tectonic environment, allowing tectonic reconstitutions (see plate tectonics
    Plate tectonics
    Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

    );
  • in some special circumstances they host important mineral deposits (ore
    Ore
    An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

    s): for example, tungsten
    Tungsten
    Tungsten , also known as wolfram , is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as...

    , tin
    Tin
    Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

    , and uranium
    Uranium
    Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

     are commonly associated with granite
    Granite
    Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

    s and diorite
    Diorite
    Diorite is a grey to dark grey intermediate intrusive igneous rock composed principally of plagioclase feldspar , biotite, hornblende, and/or pyroxene. It may contain small amounts of quartz, microcline and olivine. Zircon, apatite, sphene, magnetite, ilmenite and sulfides occur as accessory...

    s, whereas ores of chromium
    Chromium
    Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...

     and platinum
    Platinum
    Platinum is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Pt and an atomic number of 78. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina del Pinto, which is literally translated into "little silver of the Pinto River." It is a dense, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal...

     are commonly associated with gabbro
    Gabbro
    Gabbro refers to a large group of dark, coarse-grained, intrusive mafic igneous rocks chemically equivalent to basalt. The rocks are plutonic, formed when molten magma is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and cools into a crystalline mass....

    s.

Morphology and setting

In terms of modes of occurrence, igneous rocks can be either intrusive
Intrusion
An intrusion is liquid rock that forms under Earth's surface. Magma from under the surface is slowly pushed up from deep within the earth into any cracks or spaces it can find, sometimes pushing existing country rock out of the way, a process that can take millions of years. As the rock slowly...

 (plutonic), extrusive
Extrusive (geology)
Extrusive refers to the mode of igneous volcanic rock formation in which hot magma from inside the Earth flows out onto the surface as lava or explodes violently into the atmosphere to fall back as pyroclastics or tuff...

 (volcanic
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

) or hypabyssal.

Intrusive igneous rocks

Intrusive igneous rocks are formed from magma that cools and solidifies within the crust of a planet. Surrounded by pre-existing rock (called country rock
Country rock (geology)
Country rock is a geological term meaning the rock native to an area. It is similar and in many cases interchangeable with the terms basement and wall rocks....

), the magma cools slowly, and as a result these rocks are coarse grained. The mineral grains in such rocks can generally be identified with the naked eye. Intrusive rocks can also be classified according to the shape and size of the intrusive body and its relation to the other formations into which it intrudes. Typical intrusive formations are batholith
Batholith
A batholith is a large emplacement of igneous intrusive rock that forms from cooled magma deep in the Earth's crust...

s, stocks, laccolith
Laccolith
A laccolith is a sheet intrusion that has been injected between two layers of sedimentary rock. The pressure of the magma is high enough that the overlying strata are forced upward, giving the laccolith a dome or mushroom-like form with a generally planar base.Laccoliths tend to form at relatively...

s, sill
Sill (geology)
In geology, a sill is a tabular sheet intrusion that has intruded between older layers of sedimentary rock, beds of volcanic lava or tuff, or even along the direction of foliation in metamorphic rock. The term sill is synonymous with concordant intrusive sheet...

s and dikes
Dike (geology)
A dike or dyke in geology is a type of sheet intrusion referring to any geologic body that cuts discordantly across* planar wall rock structures, such as bedding or foliation...

.

The central cores of major mountain ranges consist of intrusive igneous rocks, usually granite. When exposed by erosion, these cores (called batholith
Batholith
A batholith is a large emplacement of igneous intrusive rock that forms from cooled magma deep in the Earth's crust...

s
) may occupy huge areas of the Earth's surface.

Coarse grained intrusive igneous rocks which form at depth within the crust are termed as abyssal; intrusive igneous rocks which form near the surface are termed hypabyssal.

Extrusive igneous rocks

Extrusive igneous rocks are formed at the crust's surface as a result of the partial melting of rocks within the mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

 and crust. Extrusive Igneous rocks cool and solidify quicker than intrusive igneous rocks. Since the rocks cool very quickly they are fine grained.

The melted rock, with or without suspended crystals and gas bubbles, is called magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

. Magma rises because it is less dense than the rock from which it was created. When it reaches the surface, magma extruded onto the surface either beneath water or air, is called lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

. Eruptions of volcanoes into air are termed subaerial
Subaerial
The term subaerial is mainly used in geology to describe events or structures that are located at the Earth's surface...

whereas those occurring underneath the ocean are termed submarine
Underwater
Underwater is a term describing the realm below the surface of water where the water exists in a natural feature such as an ocean, sea, lake, pond, or river. Three quarters of the planet Earth is covered by water...

. Black smokers and mid-ocean ridge
Mid-ocean ridge
A mid-ocean ridge is a general term for an underwater mountain system that consists of various mountain ranges , typically having a valley known as a rift running along its spine, formed by plate tectonics. This type of oceanic ridge is characteristic of what is known as an oceanic spreading...

 basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

 are examples of submarine volcanic activity.

The volume of extrusive rock erupted annually by volcanoes varies with plate tectonic setting. Extrusive rock is produced in the following proportions:
  • divergent boundary
    Divergent boundary
    In plate tectonics, a divergent boundary or divergent plate boundary is a linear feature that exists between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other. Divergent boundaries within continents initially produce rifts which produce rift valleys...

    : 73%
  • convergent boundary
    Convergent boundary
    In plate tectonics, a convergent boundary, also known as a destructive plate boundary , is an actively deforming region where two tectonic plates or fragments of lithosphere move toward one another and collide...

     (subduction zone): 15%
  • hotspot
    Hotspot (geology)
    The places known as hotspots or hot spots in geology are volcanic regions thought to be fed by underlying mantle that is anomalously hot compared with the mantle elsewhere. They may be on, near to, or far from tectonic plate boundaries. There are two hypotheses to explain them...

    : 12%.


Magma which erupts from a volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 behaves according to its viscosity
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

, determined by temperature, composition, and crystal content. High-temperature magma, most of which is basaltic in composition, behaves in a manner similar to thick oil and, as it cools, treacle
Treacle
Treacle is any syrup made during the refining of sugar and is defined as "uncrystallized syrup produced in refining sugar". Treacle is used chiefly in cooking as a form of sweetener or condiment....

. Long, thin basalt flows with pahoehoe surfaces are common. Intermediate composition magma such as andesite
Andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

 tends to form cinder cones of intermingled ash
Volcanic ash
Volcanic ash consists of small tephra, which are bits of pulverized rock and glass created by volcanic eruptions, less than in diameter. There are three mechanisms of volcanic ash formation: gas release under decompression causing magmatic eruptions; thermal contraction from chilling on contact...

, tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

 and lava, and may have viscosity similar to thick, cold molasses
Molasses
Molasses is a viscous by-product of the processing of sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word melaço, which ultimately comes from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or sugar beet,...

 or even rubber when erupted. Felsic magma such as rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

 is usually erupted at low temperature and is up to 10,000 times as viscous as basalt. Volcanoes with rhyolitic magma commonly erupt explosively, and rhyolitic lava flows typically are of limited extent and have steep margins, because the magma is so viscous.

Felsic and intermediate magmas that erupt often do so violently, with explosions driven by release of dissolved gases — typically water but also carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

. Explosively erupted pyroclastic material is called tephra
Tephra
200px|thumb|right|Tephra horizons in south-central [[Iceland]]. The thick and light coloured layer at center of the photo is [[rhyolitic]] tephra from [[Hekla]]....

 and includes tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

, agglomerate
Agglomerate
Agglomerates are coarse accumulations of large blocks of volcanic material that contain at least 75% bombs...

 and ignimbrite
Ignimbrite
An ignimbrite is the deposit of a pyroclastic density current, or pyroclastic flow, a hot suspension of particles and gases that flows rapidly from a volcano, driven by a greater density than the surrounding atmosphere....

. Fine volcanic ash is also erupted and forms ash tuff deposits which can often cover vast areas.

Because lava cools and crystallizes rapidly, it is fine grained. If the cooling has been so rapid as to prevent the formation of even small crystals after extrusion, the resulting rock may be mostly glass (such as the rock obsidian
Obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth...

). If the cooling of the lava happened slowly, the rocks would be coarse-grained.

Because the minerals are mostly fine-grained, it is much more difficult to distinguish between the different types of extrusive igneous rocks than between different types of intrusive igneous rocks. Generally, the mineral constituents of fine-grained extrusive igneous rocks can only be determined by examination of thin section
Thin section
In optical mineralogy and petrography, a thin section is a laboratory preparation of a rock, mineral, soil, pottery, bones, or even metal sample for use with a polarizing petrographic microscope, electron microscope and electron microprobe. A thin sliver of rock is cut from the sample with a...

s of the rock under a microscope
Optical microscope
The optical microscope, often referred to as the "light microscope", is a type of microscope which uses visible light and a system of lenses to magnify images of small samples. Optical microscopes are the oldest design of microscope and were possibly designed in their present compound form in the...

, so only an approximate classification can usually be made in the field.

Hypabyssal igneous rocks

Hypabyssal igneous rocks are formed at a depth in between the plutonic and volcanic rocks. Hypabyssal rocks are less common than plutonic or volcanic rocks and do often form dikes
Dike (geology)
A dike or dyke in geology is a type of sheet intrusion referring to any geologic body that cuts discordantly across* planar wall rock structures, such as bedding or foliation...

, sills
Sill (geology)
In geology, a sill is a tabular sheet intrusion that has intruded between older layers of sedimentary rock, beds of volcanic lava or tuff, or even along the direction of foliation in metamorphic rock. The term sill is synonymous with concordant intrusive sheet...

 or laccolith
Laccolith
A laccolith is a sheet intrusion that has been injected between two layers of sedimentary rock. The pressure of the magma is high enough that the overlying strata are forced upward, giving the laccolith a dome or mushroom-like form with a generally planar base.Laccoliths tend to form at relatively...

s.

Classification

Igneous rocks are classified according to mode of occurrence, texture, mineralogy, chemical composition, and the geometry of the igneous body.

The classification of the many types of different igneous rocks can provide us with important information about the conditions under which they formed. Two important variables used for the classification of igneous rocks are particle size, which largely depends upon the cooling history, and the mineral composition of the rock. Feldspar
Feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

s, quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 or feldspathoid
Feldspathoid
The feldspathoids are a group of tectosilicate minerals which resemble feldspars but have a different structure and much lower silica content. They occur in rare and unusual types of igneous rocks....

s, olivine
Olivine
The mineral olivine is a magnesium iron silicate with the formula 2SiO4. It is a common mineral in the Earth's subsurface but weathers quickly on the surface....

s, pyroxene
Pyroxene
The pyroxenes are a group of important rock-forming inosilicate minerals found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. They share a common structure consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra and they crystallize in the monoclinic and orthorhombic systems...

s, amphibole
Amphibole
Amphibole is the name of an important group of generally dark-colored rock-forming inosilicate minerals, composed of double chain tetrahedra, linked at the vertices and generally containing ions of iron and/or magnesium in their structures.-Mineralogy:...

s, and mica
Mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

s are all important minerals in the formation of almost all igneous rocks, and they are basic to the classification of these rocks. All other minerals present are regarded as nonessential in almost all igneous rocks and are called accessory minerals. Types of igneous rocks with other essential minerals are very rare, and these rare rocks include those with essential carbonate
Carbonate
In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt of carbonic acid, characterized by the presence of the carbonate ion, . The name may also mean an ester of carbonic acid, an organic compound containing the carbonate group C2....

s.

In a simplified classification, igneous rock types are separated on the basis of the type of feldspar present, the presence or absence of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

, and in rocks with no feldspar or quartz, the type of iron or magnesium minerals present. Rocks containing quartz (silica in composition) are silica-oversaturated. Rocks with feldspathoid
Feldspathoid
The feldspathoids are a group of tectosilicate minerals which resemble feldspars but have a different structure and much lower silica content. They occur in rare and unusual types of igneous rocks....

s are silica-undersaturated, because feldspathoids cannot coexist in a stable association with quartz.

Igneous rocks which have crystals large enough to be seen by the naked eye are called phaneritic
Phaneritic
Phaneritic is a term usually used to refer to igneous rock grain size. It means that the size of matrix grains in the rock are large enough to be distinguished with the unaided eye as opposed to aphanitic . This texture forms by slow cooling of magma deep underground in the plutonic environment...

; those with crystals too small to be seen are called aphanitic. Generally speaking, phaneritic implies an intrusive origin; aphanitic an extrusive one.

An igneous rock with larger, clearly discernible crystals embedded in a finer-grained matrix is termed porphyry
Porphyry (geology)
Porphyry is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts...

. Porphyritic texture develops when some of the crystals grow to considerable size before the main mass of the magma crystallizes as finer-grained, uniform material.

We will classify igneous rocks on the basis of texture and composition.
Texture refers to the size, shape and arrangement of the mineral grains or crystals of which the rock is composed.

Texture


Texture is an important criterion for the naming of volcanic rocks. The texture
Rock microstructure
Rock microstructure includes the texture of a rock and the small scale rock structures. The words "texture" and "microstructure" are interchangeable, with the latter preferred in modern geological literature...

 of volcanic rocks, including the size, shape, orientation, and distribution of mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

 grains and the intergrain relationships, will determine whether the rock is termed a tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

, a pyroclastic lava or a simple lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

.

However, the texture is only a subordinate part of classifying volcanic rocks, as most often there needs to be chemical information gleaned from rocks with extremely fine-grained groundmass or from airfall tuffs, which may be formed from volcanic ash.

Textural criteria are less critical in classifying intrusive rocks where the majority of minerals will be visible to the naked eye or at least using a hand lens, magnifying glass or microscope. Plutonic rocks tend also to be less texturally varied and less prone to gaining structural fabrics. Textural terms can be used to differentiate different intrusive phases of large plutons, for instance porphyritic
Porphyritic
Porphyritic is an adjective used in geology, specifically for igneous rocks, for a rock that has a distinct difference in the size of the crystals, with at least one group of crystals obviously larger than another group...

 margins to large intrusive bodies, porphyry
Porphyry (geology)
Porphyry is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts...

 stocks and subvolcanic
Subvolcanic rock
A subvolcanic rock, also known as a hypabyssal rock, is an igneous rock that originates at medium to shallow depths within the crust and contain intermediate grain size and often porphyritic texture. They have textures between volcanic and plutonic rocks. Subvolcanic rocks include diabase and...

 dike
Dike (geology)
A dike or dyke in geology is a type of sheet intrusion referring to any geologic body that cuts discordantly across* planar wall rock structures, such as bedding or foliation...

s (apophyses). Mineralogical classification is used most often to classify plutonic rocks. Chemical classifications are preferred to classify volcanic rocks, with phenocryst species used as a prefix, e.g. "olivine-bearing picrite" or "orthoclase-phyric rhyolite".
  • see also List of rock textures and Igneous textures
    Igneous textures
    Igneous textures include the rock textures occurring in igneous rocks. Igneous textures are used by geologists in determining the mode of origin igneous rocks and are used in rock classification...



Chemical classification


Igneous rocks can be classified according to chemical or mineralogical parameters:

Chemical: total alkali-silica content (TAS diagram
TAS classification
The TAS classification can be used to assign names to many common types of volcanic rocks based upon the relationships between the combined alkali content and the silica content. These chemical parameters are useful, because the relative proportions of alkalis and silica play an important role in...

) for volcanic rock
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

 classification used when modal or mineralogic data is unavailable:
  • felsic
    Felsic
    The word "felsic" is a term used in geology to refer to silicate minerals, magma, and rocks which are enriched in the lighter elements such as silicon, oxygen, aluminium, sodium, and potassium....

    igneous rocks containing a high silica content, greater than 63% SiO2 (examples granite
    Granite
    Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

     and rhyolite
    Rhyolite
    This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

    )
  • intermediate
    Intermediate composition
    In igneous petrology an intermediate composition refers to the chemical composition of a rock that has 52-63 wt% SiO2 being an intermediate between felsic and mafic compositions. Typical intermediate rocks include andesite, dacite and trachyandesite among volcanic rocks and diorite and granodiorite...

    igneous rocks containing between 52 - 63% SiO2 (example andesite and dacite
    Dacite
    Dacite is an igneous, volcanic rock. It has an aphanitic to porphyritic texture and is intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite. The relative proportions of feldspars and quartz in dacite, and in many other volcanic rocks, are illustrated in the QAPF diagram...

    )
  • mafic
    Mafic
    Mafic is an adjective describing a silicate mineral or rock that is rich in magnesium and iron; the term is a portmanteau of the words "magnesium" and "ferric". Most mafic minerals are dark in color and the relative density is greater than 3. Common rock-forming mafic minerals include olivine,...

    igneous rocks have low silica 45 - 52% and typically high iron - magnesium content (example gabbro and basalt
    Basalt
    Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

    )
  • ultramafic rock igneous rocks with less than 45% silica. (examples picrite, komatiite
    Komatiite
    Komatiite is a type of ultramafic mantle-derived volcanic rock. Komatiites have low silicon, potassium and aluminium, and high to extremely high magnesium content...

     and peridotite
    Peridotite
    A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron...

    )
  • alkalic igneous rocks with 5 - 15% alkali
    Alkali
    In chemistry, an alkali is a basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal element. Some authors also define an alkali as a base that dissolves in water. A solution of a soluble base has a pH greater than 7. The adjective alkaline is commonly used in English as a synonym for base,...

     (K2O + Na2O) content or with a molar
    Mole (unit)
    The mole is a unit of measurement used in chemistry to express amounts of a chemical substance, defined as an amount of a substance that contains as many elementary entities as there are atoms in 12 grams of pure carbon-12 , the isotope of carbon with atomic weight 12. This corresponds to a value...

     ratio of alkali to silica greater than 1:6. (examples phonolite
    Phonolite
    Phonolite is a rare igneous, volcanic rock of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture....

     and trachyte
    Trachyte
    Trachyte is an igneous volcanic rock with an aphanitic to porphyritic texture. The mineral assemblage consists of essential alkali feldspar; relatively minor plagioclase and quartz or a feldspathoid such as nepheline may also be present....

    )


Chemical classification also extends to differentiating rocks which are chemically similar according to the TAS diagram, for instance;
  • Ultrapotassic; rocks containing molar K2O/Na2O >3
  • Peralkaline; rocks containing molar (K2O + Na2O)/ Al2O3 >1
  • Peraluminous; rocks containing molar (K2O + Na2O)/ Al2O3 <1


An idealized mineralogy (the normative mineralogy
Normative mineralogy
Normative mineralogy is a geochemical calculation of the whole rock geochemistry of a rock sample that estimates the idealised mineralogy of a rock according to the principles of geochemistry....

) can be calculated from the chemical composition, and the calculation is useful for rocks too fine-grained or too altered for identification of minerals that crystallized from the melt. For instance, normative quartz classifies a rock as silica-oversaturated; an example is rhyolite. A normative feldspathoid
Feldspathoid
The feldspathoids are a group of tectosilicate minerals which resemble feldspars but have a different structure and much lower silica content. They occur in rare and unusual types of igneous rocks....

 classifies a rock as silica-undersaturated; an example is nephelinite
Nephelinite
Nephelinite is a fine-grained or aphanitic igneous rock made up almost entirely of nepheline and clinopyroxene . If olivine is present, the rock may be classified as an olivine nephelinite. Nephelinite is dark in color and may resemble basalt in hand specimen...

.

History of classification

In 1902 a group of American petrographers proposed that all existing classifications of igneous rocks should be discarded and replaced by a "quantitative" classification based on chemical analysis. They showed how vague and often unscientific was much of the existing terminology and argued that as the chemical composition of an igneous rock was its most fundamental characteristic it should be elevated to prime position.

Geological occurrence, structure, mineralogical constitution—the hitherto accepted criteria for the discrimination of rock species—were relegated to the background. The completed rock analysis is first to be interpreted in terms of the rock-forming minerals which might be expected to be formed when the magma crystallizes, e.g., quartz feldspars, olivine, akermannite, feldspathoids, magnetite, corundum and so on, and the rocks are divided into groups strictly according to the relative proportion of these minerals to one another.

Mineralogical classification

For volcanic rocks, mineralogy is important in classifying and naming lavas. The most important criterion is the phenocryst
Phenocryst
thumb|right|300px|[[Granite]]s often have large [[feldspar|feldspatic]] phenocrysts. This granite, from the [[Switzerland|Swiss]] side of the [[Mont Blanc]] massif, has large white [[plagioclase]] phenocrysts, [[triclinic]] [[mineral]]s that give [[trapezium|trapezoid]] shapes when cut through)...

 species, followed by the groundmass mineralogy. Often, where the groundmass is aphanitic, chemical classification must be used to properly identify a volcanic rock.

Mineralogic contents - felsic versus mafic
  • felsic
    Felsic
    The word "felsic" is a term used in geology to refer to silicate minerals, magma, and rocks which are enriched in the lighter elements such as silicon, oxygen, aluminium, sodium, and potassium....

    rock, highest content of silicon
    Silicon
    Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

    , with predominance of quartz, alkali feldspar
    Feldspar
    Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

     and/or feldspathoids: the felsic minerals; these rocks (e.g., granite, rhyolite) are usually light coloured, and have low density.
  • mafic
    Mafic
    Mafic is an adjective describing a silicate mineral or rock that is rich in magnesium and iron; the term is a portmanteau of the words "magnesium" and "ferric". Most mafic minerals are dark in color and the relative density is greater than 3. Common rock-forming mafic minerals include olivine,...

    rock, lesser content of silicon relative to felsic rocks, with predominance of mafic minerals pyroxene
    Pyroxene
    The pyroxenes are a group of important rock-forming inosilicate minerals found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. They share a common structure consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra and they crystallize in the monoclinic and orthorhombic systems...

    s, olivine
    Olivine
    The mineral olivine is a magnesium iron silicate with the formula 2SiO4. It is a common mineral in the Earth's subsurface but weathers quickly on the surface....

    s and calcic plagioclase
    Plagioclase
    Plagioclase is an important series of tectosilicate minerals within the feldspar family. Rather than referring to a particular mineral with a specific chemical composition, plagioclase is a solid solution series, more properly known as the plagioclase feldspar series...

    ; these rocks (example, basalt, gabbro) are usually dark coloured, and have a higher density than felsic rocks.
  • ultramafic rock, lowest content of silicon, with more than 90% of mafic minerals (e.g., dunite
    Dunite
    Dunite is an igneous, plutonic rock, of ultramafic composition, with coarse-grained or phaneritic texture. The mineral assemblage is greater than 90% olivine, with minor amounts of other minerals such as pyroxene, chromite and pyrope. Dunite is the olivine-rich end-member of the peridotite group...

    ).


For intrusive, plutonic and usually phaneritic
Phaneritic
Phaneritic is a term usually used to refer to igneous rock grain size. It means that the size of matrix grains in the rock are large enough to be distinguished with the unaided eye as opposed to aphanitic . This texture forms by slow cooling of magma deep underground in the plutonic environment...

 igneous rocks where all minerals are visible at least via microscope, the mineralogy is used to classify the rock. This usually occurs on ternary diagrams
Ternary plot
A ternary plot, ternary graph, triangle plot, simplex plot, or de Finetti diagram is a barycentric plot on three variables which sum to a constant. It graphically depicts the ratios of the three variables as positions in an equilateral triangle...

, where the relative proportions of three minerals are used to classify the rock.

The following table is a simple subdivision of igneous rocks according both to their composition and mode of occurrence.
Composition
Mode of occurrence Felsic Intermediate Mafic Ultramafic
Intrusive Granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

Diorite
Diorite
Diorite is a grey to dark grey intermediate intrusive igneous rock composed principally of plagioclase feldspar , biotite, hornblende, and/or pyroxene. It may contain small amounts of quartz, microcline and olivine. Zircon, apatite, sphene, magnetite, ilmenite and sulfides occur as accessory...

Gabbro
Gabbro
Gabbro refers to a large group of dark, coarse-grained, intrusive mafic igneous rocks chemically equivalent to basalt. The rocks are plutonic, formed when molten magma is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and cools into a crystalline mass....

Peridotite
Peridotite
A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron...

 
Extrusive Rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

Andesite
Andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

Basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

Komatiite
Komatiite
Komatiite is a type of ultramafic mantle-derived volcanic rock. Komatiites have low silicon, potassium and aluminium, and high to extremely high magnesium content...


Essential rock forming silicates
Felsic Intermediate Mafic Ultramafic
Coarse Grained Granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

Diorite
Diorite
Diorite is a grey to dark grey intermediate intrusive igneous rock composed principally of plagioclase feldspar , biotite, hornblende, and/or pyroxene. It may contain small amounts of quartz, microcline and olivine. Zircon, apatite, sphene, magnetite, ilmenite and sulfides occur as accessory...

Gabbro
Gabbro
Gabbro refers to a large group of dark, coarse-grained, intrusive mafic igneous rocks chemically equivalent to basalt. The rocks are plutonic, formed when molten magma is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and cools into a crystalline mass....

Peridotite
Peridotite
A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron...

Medium Grained Diabase
Diabase
Diabase or dolerite is a mafic, holocrystalline, subvolcanic rock equivalent to volcanic basalt or plutonic gabbro. In North American usage, the term diabase refers to the fresh rock, whilst elsewhere the term dolerite is used for the fresh rock and diabase refers to altered material...

Fine Grained Rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

Andesite
Andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

Basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

Komatiite
Komatiite
Komatiite is a type of ultramafic mantle-derived volcanic rock. Komatiites have low silicon, potassium and aluminium, and high to extremely high magnesium content...


For a more detailed classification see QAPF diagram
QAPF diagram
A QAPF diagram is a double triangle diagram which is used to classify igneous rocks based on mineralogic composition. The acronym, QAPF, stands for "Quartz, Alkali feldspar, Plagioclase, Feldspathoid ". These are the mineral groups used for classification in QAPF diagram...

.

Example of classification

Granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 is an igneous intrusive rock (crystallized at depth), with felsic composition (rich in silica and predominately quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 plus potassium-rich feldspar
Feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

 plus sodium-rich plagioclase
Plagioclase
Plagioclase is an important series of tectosilicate minerals within the feldspar family. Rather than referring to a particular mineral with a specific chemical composition, plagioclase is a solid solution series, more properly known as the plagioclase feldspar series...

) and phaneritic, subeuhedral
Euhedral
Euhedral crystals are those that are well-formed with sharp, easily recognised faces. Normally, crystals do not form smooth faces or sharp crystal outlines. Many crystals grow from cooling liquid magma...

 texture (minerals are visible to the unaided eye and commonly some of them retain original crystallographic shapes).

Magma origination

The Earth's crust averages about 35 kilometers thick under the continents
Continental crust
The continental crust is the layer of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks which form the continents and the areas of shallow seabed close to their shores, known as continental shelves. This layer is sometimes called sial due to more felsic, or granitic, bulk composition, which lies in...

, but averages only some 7-10 kilometers beneath the oceans
Oceanic crust
Oceanic crust is the part of Earth's lithosphere that surfaces in the ocean basins. Oceanic crust is primarily composed of mafic rocks, or sima, which is rich in iron and magnesium...

. The continental crust is composed primarily of sedimentary rocks resting on crystalline basement formed of a great variety of metamorphic and igneous rocks including granulite
Granulite
Granulites are medium to coarse–grained metamorphic rocks that have experienced high temperature metamorphism, composed mainly of feldspars sometimes associated with quartz and anhydrous ferromagnesian minerals, with granoblastic texture and gneissose to massive structure...

 and granite. Oceanic crust is composed primarily of basalt and gabbro
Gabbro
Gabbro refers to a large group of dark, coarse-grained, intrusive mafic igneous rocks chemically equivalent to basalt. The rocks are plutonic, formed when molten magma is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and cools into a crystalline mass....

. Both continental and oceanic crust rest on peridotite
Peridotite
A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron...

 of the mantle.

Rocks may melt in response to a decrease in pressure, to a change in composition such as an addition of water, to an increase in temperature, or to a combination of these processes.

Other mechanisms, such as melting from impact of a meteorite, are less important today, but impacts during accretion
Accretion (geology)
Accretion is a process by which material is added to a tectonic plate or a landmass. This material may be sediment, volcanic arcs, seamounts or other igneous features.-Description:...

 of the Earth led to extensive melting, and the outer several hundred kilometers of our early Earth probably was an ocean of magma. Impacts of large meteorites in last few hundred million years have been proposed as one mechanism responsible for the extensive basalt magmatism of several large igneous province
Large igneous province
A Large Igneous Province is an extremely large accumulation of igneous rocks—intrusive, extrusive, or both—in the earth's crust...

s.

Decompression

Decompression melting occurs because of a decrease in pressure. The solidus
Solidus (chemistry)
In chemistry, materials science, and physics, the solidus is the locus of temperatures below which a given substance is completely solid...

 temperatures of most rocks (the temperatures below which they are completely solid) increase with increasing pressure in the absence of water. Peridotite at depth in the Earth's mantle may be hotter than its solidus temperature at some shallower level. If such rock rises during the convection
Mantle convection
Mantle convection is the slow creeping motion of Earth's rocky mantle caused by convection currents carrying heat from the interior of the Earth to the surface. The Earth's surface lithosphere, which rides atop the asthenosphere , is divided into a number of plates that are continuously being...

 of solid mantle, it will cool slightly as it expands in an adiabatic process
Adiabatic process
In thermodynamics, an adiabatic process or an isocaloric process is a thermodynamic process in which the net heat transfer to or from the working fluid is zero. Such a process can occur if the container of the system has thermally-insulated walls or the process happens in an extremely short time,...

, but the cooling is only about 0.3°C per kilometer. Experimental studies of appropriate peridotite
Peridotite
A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron...

 samples document that the solidus temperatures increase by 3°C to 4°C per kilometer. If the rock rises far enough, it will begin to melt. Melt droplets can coalesce into larger volumes and be intruded upwards. This process of melting from upward movement of solid mantle is critical in the evolution of the Earth.

Decompression melting creates the ocean crust at mid-ocean ridges. It also causes volcanism
Volcanism
Volcanism is the phenomenon connected with volcanoes and volcanic activity. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of a planet to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface....

 in intraplate regions such as Europe, Africa and the Pacific sea floor. There, it is variously attributed either to the rise of mantle plume
Mantle plume
A mantle plume is a hypothetical thermal diapir of abnormally hot rock that nucleates at the core-mantle boundary and rises through the Earth's mantle. Such plumes were invoked in 1971 to explain volcanic regions that were not thought to be explicable by the then-new theory of plate tectonics. Some...

s (the "Plume hypothesis") or to intraplate extension (the "Plate hypothesis").

Effects of water and carbon dioxide

The change of rock composition most responsible for creation of magma is the addition of water. Water lowers the solidus
Solidus (chemistry)
In chemistry, materials science, and physics, the solidus is the locus of temperatures below which a given substance is completely solid...

 temperature of rocks at a given pressure. For example, at a depth of about 100 kilometers, peridotite begins to melt near 800°C in the presence of excess water, but near or above about 1500°C in the absence of water. Water is driven out of the oceanic lithosphere
Lithosphere
The lithosphere is the rigid outermost shell of a rocky planet. On Earth, it comprises the crust and the portion of the upper mantle that behaves elastically on time scales of thousands of years or greater.- Earth's lithosphere :...

 in subduction zones, and it causes melting in the overlying mantle. Hydrous magmas of basalt and andesite composition are produced directly and indirectly as results of dehydration during the subduction process. Such magmas and those derived from them build up island arc
Island arc
An island arc is a type of archipelago composed of a chain of volcanoes which alignment is arc-shaped, and which are situated parallel and close to a boundary between two converging tectonic plates....

s such as those in the Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

. These magmas form rocks of the calc-alkaline
Calc-alkaline
The calc-alkaline magma series is one of two main magma series in igneous rocks, the other magma series being the tholeiitic. A magma series is a series of compositions that describes the evolution of a mafic magma, which is high in magnesium and iron and produces basalt or gabbro, as it...

 series, an important part of continental crust
Continental crust
The continental crust is the layer of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks which form the continents and the areas of shallow seabed close to their shores, known as continental shelves. This layer is sometimes called sial due to more felsic, or granitic, bulk composition, which lies in...

.

The addition of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 is relatively a much less important cause of magma formation than addition of water, but genesis of some silica-undersaturated
Normative mineralogy
Normative mineralogy is a geochemical calculation of the whole rock geochemistry of a rock sample that estimates the idealised mineralogy of a rock according to the principles of geochemistry....

 magmas has been attributed to the dominance of carbon dioxide over water in their mantle source regions. In the presence of carbon dioxide, experiments document that the peridotite solidus temperature decreases by about 200°C in a narrow pressure interval at pressures corresponding to a depth of about 70 km. At greater depths, carbon dioxide can have more effect: at depths to about 200 km, the temperatures of initial melting of a carbonated peridotite composition were determined to be 450°C to 600°C lower than for the same composition with no carbon dioxide. Magmas of rock types such as nephelinite
Nephelinite
Nephelinite is a fine-grained or aphanitic igneous rock made up almost entirely of nepheline and clinopyroxene . If olivine is present, the rock may be classified as an olivine nephelinite. Nephelinite is dark in color and may resemble basalt in hand specimen...

, carbonatite
Carbonatite
Carbonatites are intrusive or extrusive igneous rocks defined by mineralogic composition consisting of greater than 50 percent carbonate minerals. Carbonatites may be confused with marble, and may require geochemical verification....

, and kimberlite
Kimberlite
Kimberlite is a type of potassic volcanic rock best known for sometimes containing diamonds. It is named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa, where the discovery of an diamond in 1871 spawned a diamond rush, eventually creating the Big Hole....

 are among those that may be generated following an influx of carbon dioxide into mantle at depths greater than about 70 km.

Temperature increase

Increase of temperature is the most typical mechanism for formation of magma within continental crust. Such temperature increases can occur because of the upward intrusion of magma from the mantle. Temperatures can also exceed the solidus
Solidus (chemistry)
In chemistry, materials science, and physics, the solidus is the locus of temperatures below which a given substance is completely solid...

 of a crustal rock in continental crust thickened by compression at a plate boundary. The plate boundary between the Indian and Asian continental masses provides a well-studied example, as the Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

 just north of the boundary has crust about 80 kilometers thick, roughly twice the thickness of normal continental crust. Studies of electrical resistivity
Resistivity
Electrical resistivity is a measure of how strongly a material opposes the flow of electric current. A low resistivity indicates a material that readily allows the movement of electric charge. The SI unit of electrical resistivity is the ohm metre...

 deduced from magnetotelluric data
Magnetotellurics
Magnetotellurics is an electromagnetic geophysical method of imaging the earth's subsurface by measuring natural variations of electrical and magnetic fields at the Earth's surface. Investigation depth ranges from 300m below ground by recording higher frequencies down to 10,000m or deeper with...

 have detected a layer that appears to contain silicate
Silicate
A silicate is a compound containing a silicon bearing anion. The great majority of silicates are oxides, but hexafluorosilicate and other anions are also included. This article focuses mainly on the Si-O anions. Silicates comprise the majority of the earth's crust, as well as the other...

 melt and that stretches for at least 1000 kilometers within the middle crust along the southern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. Granite and rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

 are types of igneous rock commonly interpreted as products of melting of continental crust because of increases of temperature. Temperature increases also may contribute to the melting of lithosphere
Lithosphere
The lithosphere is the rigid outermost shell of a rocky planet. On Earth, it comprises the crust and the portion of the upper mantle that behaves elastically on time scales of thousands of years or greater.- Earth's lithosphere :...

 dragged down in a subduction zone.

Magma evolution


Most magmas only entirely melt for small parts of their histories. More typically, they are mixes of melt and crystals, and sometimes also of gas bubbles. Melt, crystals, and bubbles usually have different densities, and so they can separate as magmas evolve.

As magma cools, mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s typically crystallize from the melt at different temperatures (fractional crystallization
Fractional crystallization (geology)
Fractional crystallization is one of the most important geochemical and physical processes operating within the Earth's crust and mantle. Fractional crystallization is the removal and segregation from a melt of mineral precipitates; except in special cases, removal of the crystals changes the...

). As minerals crystallize, the composition of the residual melt typically changes. If crystals separate from melt, then the residual melt will differ in composition from the parent magma. For instance, a magma of gabbroic composition can produce a residual melt of granitic
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 composition if early formed crystals are separated from the magma. Gabbro may have a liquidus temperature near 1200°C, and derivative granite-composition melt may have a liquidus temperature as low as about 700°C. Incompatible element
Incompatible element
An incompatible element is a term used in petrology and geochemistry to describe an element that is unsuitable in size and/or charge to the cation sites of the minerals, and is defined by the partition coefficient between rock-forming minerals and melt being much smaller than 1..During the...

s are concentrated in the last residues of magma during fractional crystallization and in the first melts produced during partial melting: either process can form the magma that crystallizes to pegmatite
Pegmatite
A pegmatite is a very crystalline, intrusive igneous rock composed of interlocking crystals usually larger than 2.5 cm in size; such rocks are referred to as pegmatitic....

, a rock type commonly enriched in incompatible elements. Bowen's reaction series
Bowen's reaction series
Within the field of geology, Bowen's reaction series is the work of the petrologist, Norman L. Bowen who was able to explain why certain types of minerals tend to be found together while others are almost never associated with one another...

 is important for understanding the idealised sequence of fractional crystallisation of a magma.

Magma composition can be determined by processes other than partial melting and fractional crystallization. For instance, magmas commonly interact with rocks they intrude, both by melting those rocks and by reacting with them. Magmas of different compositions can mix with one another. In rare cases, melts can separate into two immiscible melts of contrasting compositions.

There are relatively few minerals that are important in the formation of common igneous rocks, because the magma from which the minerals crystallize is rich in only certain elements: silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

, oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

, sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

, potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

, calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

, iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, and magnesium
Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

. These are the elements which combine to form the silicate minerals
Silicate minerals
The silicate minerals make up the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals, constituting approximately 90 percent of the crust of the Earth. They are classified based on the structure of their silicate group...

, which account for over ninety percent of all igneous rocks. The chemistry of igneous rocks is expressed differently for major and minor elements and for trace elements. Contents of major and minor elements are conventionally expressed as weight percent oxides (e.g., 51% SiO2, and 1.50% TiO2). Abundances of trace elements are conventionally expressed as parts per million by weight (e.g., 420 ppm Ni, and 5.1 ppm Sm). The term "trace element" typically is used for elements present in most rocks at abundances less than 100 ppm or so, but some trace elements may be present in some rocks at abundances exceeding 1000 ppm. The diversity of rock compositions has been defined by a huge mass of analytical data—over 230,000 rock analyses can be accessed on the web through a site sponsored by the U. S. National Science Foundation (see the External Link to EarthChem).

Etymology

The word "igneous" is derived from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 ignis, meaning "of fire".
Volcanic rocks are named after Vulcan
Vulcan (mythology)
Vulcan , aka Mulciber, is the god of beneficial and hindering fire, including the fire of volcanoes in ancient Roman religion and Roman Neopaganism. Vulcan is usually depicted with a thunderbolt. He is known as Sethlans in Etruscan mythology...

, the Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 name for the god of fire.

Intrusive rocks are also called plutonic rocks, named after Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld.

See also

  • List of minerals
  • List of rock types
  • Large igneous province
    Large igneous province
    A Large Igneous Province is an extremely large accumulation of igneous rocks—intrusive, extrusive, or both—in the earth's crust...

  • Petrology
    Petrology
    Petrology is the branch of geology that studies rocks, and the conditions in which rocks form....

  • Metamorphic rocks
  • Sedimentary rocks

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK