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Plagioclase

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Plagioclase
Mineral structure: Framework silicate Common mineral in Most silicate rocks (igneous and metamorphic), marbles Rock-forming minerals associated with plagioclase: Quartz, K-feldspar, Pyroxene, Amphibole

Plagioclase in Gabbro
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Plagioclase in Schist
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Key optical features of plagioclase in thin section: Colourless Low relief Low order interference colours Multiple twinning (often untwinned in low to medium grade metamorphic rocks) Common minerals that might be confused with plagioclase and occur in similar rocks: K-feldspar (either simple or polysynthetitc twinning, perthitic texture), Quartz (unaltered clean appearance) Common alteration product: Clay minerals (low T), Epidote (moderate T) Analyser out Analyser in

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Plagioclase

Note: Contrast with clean quartz.

Note: Dusty alteration of feldspar in contrast to adjacent clean quartz. Alteration is typically patchy within the grain. Alteration of Ca-rich plagioclase to Na-rich plagioclase (albite) plus epidote Analyser out Analyser in

Plagioclase shape in basalt


Plagioclase forms well shaped rectangular laths in volcanic rocks these crystals may be zoned. Plagioclase forms as a matrix phase in metamorphic rocks, rarely can form porphyroblasts Analyser out Analyser in

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Plagioclase

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Note: Ophitic texture with pyroxene (above) and isotropic basaltic glass (below ). Both examples with olivine and pyroxene. Plagioclase (dusty altered, twinned grains) in matrix of biotite schist (with clean quartz) Analyser out Analyser in

Plagioclase porphyroblasts in matrix of muscovite -rich schist Analyser out Analyser in

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Plagioclase

Zoned twinned plagioclase within gabbro and granite Analyser in Analyser in

Note: Different compositions of plagioclase are in extinction in slightly different positions, hence interference colours pick out different compositional zones. Plagioclase phenocrysts in volcanic rocks showing oscillatory zoning Analyser out Analyser in

Plagioclase twinning and composition


Note: Extinction angles on multiple twins in plagioclase may be used to estimate feldspar composition (<30 o = Na-rich, >30o = Ca-rich.) Rotate stage place one pair of the twin in extinction position, measure angle of rotation to extinction position of other twin pair,dividethe total angle by 2 to determine extinction angle. Na-rich plagioclase (Albite) in greenschist facies metabasic rock Analyser in Stage rotated by 25 o (i.e. Ext n angle ca. 12 o )

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Plagioclase

Ca-rich plagioclase (Labradorite) in gabbro Analyser in Stage rotated by 70o (i.e. Ext n angle ca. 35 o )

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Note: twinning may be polysynthetic..looks a bit like microcline ( K-Feldspar) Take the Plagioclase test Return to top Return to introduction

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