Simple properties of rocks for field-testing

Hardness is the ability of one substance to scratch another substance. Geologists use Moh's Hardness scale, which is an arbitrary scale that ranks minerals based on hardness, on a scale from 1 to 10. Minerals with higher numbers are harder. The average pocket knife has a hardness of about 5.5, a copper penny 3.5 and a human fingernail about 2.5. A field geologist has such tools in his pocket. Hardness above 7 is called gemstone hardness (cannot be scratched by quartz). Some minerals are softer in a certain direction only. 1 Talc 2 Gypsum 3 Calcite 4 Fluorite 5 Apatite 6 Potassium feldspar 7 Quartz 8 Topaz 9 Corundum 10 Diamond, the hardest naturally-occurring substance Density: The density of a mineral is an important natural property, although not easily tested in the field. Heaviest are the gold and platinum metals (density close to 20). Silicates weigh in between 2.5 and 3.5, ores between 4 and 8. Cleavage: the cleavage of a mineral refers to how it breaks. Depending on the crystal structure, some minerals break in a regular, predictable manner, whereas others don't. If a mineral breaks in such a way that it leaves smooth, shiny surfaces, then it is said to have cleavage, and those surfaces are called cleavage surfaces. Cleavage can be perfect, good or merely incipient. The more perfect cleavage is, the thinner the sheets are that can be split off. Among the thinnest are flakes of mica. Such minerals form 'books' and their cleavage planes look pearly lustrous. Fracture: When a mineral is shattered or broken open, fracture surfaces are formed that may not have good cleavage. The appearance of such fracture surfaces is judged conchoidal (rounded), smooth, splintery, hackly, fibrous, even or uneven. Twinning: Twinning can be defined by the appearance of fine parallel lines, called striations, on the cleavage planes of some minerals. Twinning occurs when a mineral repeatedly changes the direction in which it is growing. Transparency: According to its transparency to visible light, a mineral is called water-clear, transparent, translucent or opaque. Between these, there are innumerable intermediate stages. Minerals may be translucent at their edges only.

honey-yellow to green. wine-yellow. o Copper. But alien atoms in small quantities can cause changes in the natural colours of crystals. o Silver Ag. o Graphite. resinous.5-3. Au. Brittle and hard. First used for making tools. dull. silky. Colour: Variety of colour is the most striking characteristic of minerals. blue and violet) Special light effects: Light is reflected and diffracted by regularly intercalated foreign substances. hardness 1-2. C.5).95. greasy. Sn.5). hardness 10. Labradorescence is a magnificent play of colours like in the blue labradorite. Found as granules in sand from some igneous rocks. like pyrite crystals having greenish-black powder on their naturally yellow crystals. hardness 2. Density 2. Density 10-11. by fine fractures or by twinning. harness 2. When found in streams. It is independent of colour and can occur in various qualities. green malachite.  . hardness 2.50. Density 8. A mineral is an inorganic. If a mineral reflects light in a similar way as a metal. Cu.5-3. The degree of lustre is described as splendent. Very stable against weathering. red cinnabar.59). density 21.5-2. waxy and earthy. o Tin. glimmering. Other types of lustre are: glassy (vitreous). o Diamond. Its high melting point and electrical conductivity makes it suitable for high temperature electrodes. Pt. Most noble of metals. it is said to have metallic lustre. Opalescence is the reflection of light as bright rainbow colours when an opal is turned. C.07.5. o Platinum. the gold is in small flat particles of varying sizes. Silicates form easily from a magma. but dissolving slowly in hydrochloric acid (HCl). It is very ductile (heat and electricity) and malleable. S. Lustrous. hardness 4-4. o Sulfur. hardness 3-3. Classification of common rock minerals. later mixed with tin to make bronze.3. white.5. natural solid which is found in nature. Often found in association with pyrite. Minerals consisting of a single element. shining.Lustre: Lustre refers to the way a mineral reflects light. Density 3.46. colourless. yellow or green.63.09-2. large deposits. blue azurite.5-3. Oxides (-O). etc). pearly. Used for ornaments because of its malleability. hardness 1. and in many cases it is their natural colour (yellow sulphur. so if silica is used up in a magma chamber. o Also: mercury Hg (density 13. It is used as a dry lubricant in high temperature applications. Density 19. chalco pyrite and arsenopyrite in quartz veins. Arsenic As (density 5. Their structure is complex: octahedral and dodecahedral crystals. transparent.  Native elements. then the oxides remain to be formed. Its atoms are arranged in definite patterns (an ordered internal structure) and it has a specific chemical composition that may vary within certain limits. Oxides are common in geochemical environments poor in silica. A rock is an aggregate of one or more minerals. Density 2.21. Found in compact masses. glistening. o Gold. hardness 3.61. Some minerals occur in an amazing variation of hues (fluorspar is transparent. matt. Streak: the colour of a powdered mineral on a white underlay. Antimony Sb (density 6.

gahnite. Copper ore. galaxite. Non-magnetic. columbite. Iron sesquioxide.Mg)CO3. (Ca.  Aragonite CaCO3. hardness 7.  Limestone.5-4. hardness 6.  Beauxite. haardness 3.. Non-magnetic o Aluminium oxides. o Spinel group AB2O4. stibiconite SbSb2(O. Oxidized iron minerals.nH2O. betafite. especially when loaded with carbon dioxide in the form of carbonic acid (H2CO3). CaCO3. Limestone in a metamorphic crystalline (or granular) state. found in many shapes and colours. trevorite. An important mineral. gummite. but is hard to melt. Density 6. Is an important iron ore. chrysoberyl.  Corundum.6% titanium. Fe3O4. A mixture of various oxides such as boehmite. Non-magnetic. Fe2O3. used as precious stone (red ruby and blue sapphire). Usually medium or low hardness. etc. o Maghemite. Hydroxides (-OH) o Gibbsite. CaCO3. Used for agricultural fertiliser. Magnetic. ferric iron oxide. Density 5. alexandrite. Manganite (MnO(OH). MgAl2O4. and as a filler in paint. Fine-grained. o Cuprite. Marble composed of dolomite has beautiful colours. wolframite (Mn. franklinite.:  Ilmenite FeTiO3. It has many forms of crystallisation (up to 700 forms!). limonites  Limonite. CaMg(CO3)2. Al2O3. Aluminium sesquioxide. euxenite. putty and rubber. Iron sesquioxide. dissolves easily in rainwater. steel manufacturing. Density 3. curite. and capable of taking a polish. Used in sculpture and architecture.14. Magnesium-aluminium oxide. Orthorhombic crystals. Most common. hardness 3. a black sand containing 36. brookite.5-8. o Ankerite CaFe(CO3)2.1.brucite (Mg(OH)2. Found in aluminium ore. (metamorphic). hydrargillite.  Marble. Pyrolusite (MnO2) Psilomelane (Ba. HFeO2. Is the chief source of magnesium. Al2O3. most abundant of all minerals. Density 2. anatase (octahedrite). o Also: Tenorite (CuO). Can contain chromium or manganese.Fe)WO4. Carbonates (-CO3) metal-ion solid solutions. Rust. Density 4-4. Magnetic iron oxide. Mg(OH)2. stalacmites. hardness 9. o Hydrous oxides of iron. o Dolomite. Soluble in hydrochloric acid (HCl) o Calcite.  Spinel. FeO[OH]. hardness 5-6. Uraninite (UO2). etc.55. Ilmenite is part of basic igneous rocks such as gabbro and norite.H2O)7. rutile (TiO2). Large deposits are segregated from igneous magmas at high temperatures and are mined near the surface as iron ores.H2O)Mn5O10.  Goethite. Aluminium oxide.  perovskite CaTiO3.71. Density 5. dark red. o Hematite. titanic iron ore. Cassiterite (SnO2). Stalactites.  Also: hercynite. Aluminium hydroxide.26. mixed with iron hydroxides which impart the red colour.17.OH.  Alumina.8% iron and 31. Octahedral crystals. is the principal ore for titanium. and its greyish variety as emery for abrasive and refractory products.  Magnetite (lodestone). diaspore. Magnesium hydroxide. from ochre to blood red. o . o Ilmenite group ATiO3. Calcium Magnesium carbonate. Fe2O3. o Brucite. One of magnesium's ores. Al(OH)3. Cu2O. alumogel.

3-4. Green. chalcopyrite.5-7. cornetite Cu3(OH)3PO4.16H2O.MnFePO4. monazite CePO4. pickeringite.37. Large crystals are called chrysolite and are used for jewellery. strontianite (SrCO3). milk white or reddish granular masses. A yellow lustrus form of irondisulphide. cotunnite. (Fe. Calcium fluoride. Density 3. bismuthinite. isometric crystals. Barium sulfate. nadorite. NaCl. atacamite. bornite.6H2O.  Karnallite. metacinnabarite.pyrrhotite. ullmanite.. skutterudite. marmatite. Lead sulfide. CaSO4.Mg. zippeite. tennantite. PbS. Mg2SiO4. aurichalite. siderite (FeCO3). olivine = forsterite + fayalite. goslarite. Density 3. orpiment. o Also: Thenardite Na2SO4. cobaltite. realgar. Phosphates (-PO4) o Apatite. CaF2. crandallite. alunite KAL3(SO4)2(OH)6. Sulfides (-S) o Pyrite (Fool's Gold). Mercury sulfide.1. A fairly common mineral found in pegmatites. Halides (-Cl.  Sylvite. molybdenite. potash-alum. Density 3. smithsonite (ZnCO3). Density 2. argentite. Ca5F(PO4)3. sartorite. BaSO4. bournonite. ammonia-alum. FeS2. linarite. xenotime YPO4. Celestine SrSO4.Mn) silicates in solid solution. chalcanthite. hardness 4. covellite. copiapite. alabaster. KCl. It is usually a greenish crystal. mesitite. used in the manufacture of fertilisers. and it is a major component of the mantles of other terrestrial planets. occurring naturally and used in the building industry and to make plaster of Paris. anglesite PbSO4. light-green  Fayalite. Very wide range of colours. Tetrahedral structure. Much of the Earth is made out of this mineral. rosasite. o Also: Chalcocite. epsomite MgSO4. Also: selenite.4. witherite (BACO3). Easily identified because it can be scratched by fingernail and is light. alunogen Al2(SO4)3. marcasite. johannite. sericolite.. hardness 2. Density 3. hanksite. melanterite. lanarkite Pb2SO5. Arranged by heavy element content (the Bowen series) o Olivine. wutzite. often found as inclusions in basaltic lavas. and many more. Fe2SiO4. jarosite KFe3(SO4)2(OH)6. Azurite (Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2. descloizite. o Also: lithiophilite Li. coquimbite. cannizarite. dark-green or black. A hydrated form of calcium sulphate. metamorphic and igneous rock.. stibnite.18. occurs in compact masses. and many others. Silicates (SiO2) (-SiO4) (-Si3O8) (-SiO3). uranopilite. brazilianite. brochantite. Sulfates (-SO4) o Gypsum. arsenopyrite.27-3. sphaerocobaltite (CoCO3). proustite. pyrargyrite. o Inosilicates o . hardness 6.  Also: cryolite. o Fluorides  Fluorite. adamite Zn2(OH)AsO4.  Foresterite. hauerite. o Barite. -F) o Chlorites (-Cl)  Halite (Salt). o Cinnabar. cerussite (PbCO3). soda-alum. Resistant to weathering but susceptible to metamorphism. Malachite Cu2CO3(OH)2. breunerite. morenosite NiSO4. rhodochrosite/ dialogite (MnCO3).     Also: Magnesite (MgCO3). linbethenite Cu2(OH)PO4. o Galena. A naturally occurring crystalline mineral of calcium phosphate and fluoride.2H2O.31. sphalerite. halotrichite. Potassium salt.olivenite CU2(OH)AsO4. and in ore veins. leadhillite. HgS. hardness 5. niccolite. tetrahydrite. KMgCl3. Ultrabasic. Rock-salt.

Acidic.Fe)3(AlSi3O10)(OH)2. (Ca. alurgite  Also: paragonite.6-2. ferrierite. Johannsenite CaMnSi2O6. dark green or blue green.Al. arduinite.Fe.  Serpentine. Basic to acidic. Mg3Si2O5(OH)4.  .  Also: danburite. riebeckite. Orthoclase (Microcline) potassium feldspar.  Horneblende. prehnite.2. Is a sheet silicate with properties of talcum/ formica. Density 2.F)2  Also: tremolite Ca2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2. a black. Sanidine. Double chain tetrahedral structure. Ultrabasic to intermediate. Intermediate. Density 2. CaSiO3  Enstatite.7. Hardness 6. phlogopite. NaAlSi3O8. mesolite. Moderately resistant to weathering and metamorphism.H2O. crocidolite. Intermediate. light colour. pectolite. wernerite. kunzite. 10% of crust.8-3. stilbite. Any of a group of silicate minerals with a layered structure. Chlorite group.Mg.Fe.O)2. MgSiO3  Augite. 60% of crust. lamellar. (Fassaite. Light cream to salmon pink.Al) silicates in solid solution. usually dark green (a chlorite) and sometimed mottled or spotted like a serpent's skin. capholite)  Hypersthene. Plagioclase sodium feldspar. Single chain tetrahedral structure.  Plagioclase feldspars  Anorthite. Common in igneous rocks.glaucophane. CaAl2Si2O8.F.Mg.  Diopside.56.Fe. Mica. forestite.Ti) silicates in solid solution. (Ca. actinolite. bavenite. (triphane.  Also: wollastonite CaSiO3. sodalite. chrysocolla CuSiO3.  Also: Adularia.K)2-3(Mg. dark brown or green micaceous mineral occurring as a constituent of metamorphic and igneous rocks. hiddenite). taking a high polish and used as a decorative material. 7% of crust. (Ca.Al)8O22(OH.Na)7-8 (Si. KAl3Si3O10(OH)2. scolecite. used in the manufacture of electrical equipment. A complex calcium magnesium aluminous silicate occurring in many igneous rocks. Tektosilicates  Feldspar. Framework-tetrahedral structure.7. Common in meteorites.  Biotite. Density 2. White. mordenite.Na. dachiardite.Ca)SiO3.o o o Pyroxene. White to medium gray with striations. Hard. spodumene LiAlSi2O6.8. KAlSi3O8. (Ca.  Othoclase feldspars  K-feldspar.  Albite. bronzite. laumontite. Also: fuchsite.Al. giving a pearly lustre. Are similar to the micas. haueyinite. (K.Na. K(Mg. A soft rock mainly of hydrated magnesium silicate. 4% of crust. rhodonite (Mn. Used in ceramics and glass making.76-3. Microcline. and many more.  Amphibole. Glassy or pearly looking. babingtonite.2H2O.Mg.  Feldspathoid group: nepheline (Na.Ca. (Aluminum silicates). Density 2.Na. leucite KALSI2O6  Zeolites: natrolite. Basic. lazurite (lapis lazuli). etc. Density 2. heulandite. (K. scapolite.Fe.  Muscovite. Moderately resistant to weathering. harder than hornblende. Plagioclase calcium feldspar.K)AlSiO4. lepidolite. A rock-forming greenish mineral of magnesium iron silicate. A silver-grey form of mica ('white mica') with a sheetlike crystalline structure. Ultrabasic.  Also: hedenbergite CaFeSi2O6. Basic. analcite NaAlSi2O6.Al)5(Si.Al) silicates. thomsonite.Al)9O22(OH.8-3. White. Black. Ultrabasic.Mg)SiO3 = wollastonite + enstatite in solid solution  Wollastonite (metamorphic).

consisting of one octahedral alumina layer sandwiched between two tetrahedral silica layers.o o o o Chrysotile. A vitreous silicate mineral. Density 2. Zr(SiO4).  . clinochlore. palygorskite.  Three-layer clays. Mn3Al2(SiO4)3. Hardness 7. Ca3Cr2(SiO4)3. Glassy or milky in colour. Ionic co-valent bond. SiO2.  Also: nacrite. Formed by slow leaching of silica.  Two-layer clays. magnesium (Mg++) or calcium (Ca++). Tetrahedral structure. low rainfall. high rainfall. Are the end products of weathering.  Sepiolite and attapulgite. oil well drilling and to remove colour from oils. Hard mineral. Garnet. but lower than amorphous clays. prismatic pyramid. Density 4. (2:1 clays.3-3. andradite Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3. especially a transparent deep-red kind used as a gem. flint. metamorphic and sedimentary rock..  Almandine. uvarovite. Used to bond moulding sands.7. citrine. Used for buildings. Consist of a tetrahedral silica and an octahedral alumina layer. Density 3. flint. Have high cationexchange capacity (CEC). each clay type owing its distinctive character to the cations such as sodium (Na+).  Kaolinite. and in medicines. Zircon. Formed through rapid leaching of silica in volcanic soils (allitic weathering). (1:1 clay. Used for making high quality 'bone' china porcelain and industrial ceramics. acidic conditions. but may be coloured (rock quartz. Trigonal crystal. One of the most important components of granite. insulation and high temperature applications.  Fibrous. tridymite. Common. Mg3Al2(SiO4)3. not common in soils but are important in lake deposits which have salt-lagoon characteristics.  Bentonite: a soft plastic light-coloured clay formed by chemical alteration of volcanic ash.6. (Al. Translucent. Acidic. wine-red. open clays. jasper. opal. Absorbs little water but is just right for pottery and ceramics. jasper.12H2O.  Hydrated 1:1 clays: Halloysite. morion quartz. penninite. The word kao lin means high hill in Chinese. onyx. Open and well hydrated clays. dickite.2H2O. grossularite. which occupy positions in and between the sheets.xH2O. agate. Density 4. antigorite. have poor cation-exchange capacity. stable structure and swell very little when moistened.  Also: kaemmererite. A high alumina clay. smoky quartz. A3B2(SiO4)3. It is composed essentially of montmorillonite and related smectite minerals. Fe3Al2(SiO4)3. These are rich in alumina. especially under grasslands.5. Weak structure.  Expanding lattice clays  Montmorillonite. Holds and absorbs large amounts of water.25  Also: pyrope. agate. Ca3Al2(SiO4). 20% in clay from volcanic weathering. smectite. Opal. spessartite. Also: Chalcedony. A fine soft white clay produced by the decomposition of other clays of feldspar. amethyst). Essential constituent of volcanic. Al2Si2O5(OH)4.5. which has slender tube crystals. low water permeability and swells when moistened. Most abundant and widest disseminated mineral. Asbestos serpentine with exceptionally long fibres. used especially for making porcelain (pipe clay). Si-Al-Si lattice) variable distance (-O-O-) bonded. neutral to alkaline soils. or Al4(Si4O10)2(OH)4.Mg)8(Si4O10)3(OH)10. silky lustre. potassium (K+). Tropical climates. Clay minerals (hydrous aluminium silicates). Temperate climates. Also called china clay. and is white coloured. chalcedony. All clay minerals are sheet silicates. Tetrahedral structure. Al4Si4O10(OH)8. greenish. Quartz. Colour white.6-4. Si-Al lattice) fixed distance hydrogen-bonded (-O-OH-) between the silica and alumina sheets. virtually insoluble in water. hyalite.

Phyllosilicates  Talc.  Also: humite. Any combination of montmorillonite.F)2. Many colours. Density 3.  Staurolite. Absorbs large amounts of water.  Also: Apophyllite. allanite. epidote Ca2(AL.65-3.  Notes: Density in kg/litre or g/cm3 Clay layer structures . A blue crystalline mineral of aluminium silicate. Tropical climates. zoisite.and clay-sized grains of quartz. clinozoisite. tourmaline. heliodor. Absorbs and holds large amounts of water. gadolinite. Mg3Si4O10(OH)2.6. axinite. dioptase. Subsaturite  Kyanite (metamorphic). braunite. Any crystalline form of magnesium silicate that occurs in soft flat plates. kaolinite. from which it derives its name 'red clay'. 50% in clay from volcanic weathering.OH)2. grandidierite. aquamarine.Fe)3Si3O12OH. Al2SiO5. The chlorite crystal can be modified into an iron-rich form.  Pelagic clays ('red clay'). (Fe. Density 3. eudialyte. cordierite. Aluminium silicates.5. dumortierite. hemimorphite. titanclinohumite. Formed from easily weatherable materials such as volcanic ashes. K2Al4(Si6Al2)O20(OH)4. An aluminium silicate occurring in orthorhombic crystals or fibrous masses. lava or basalt. Aillimanite. Andalusite. chlorite with an admixture of silt.A transparent or translucent aluminium silicate mineral. ilvaite. but its name relates to its green colour)  Illite (muscovite). (Note that this mineral bears no relationship to the element chloride Cl.  Sillimanite. usually white or pale green in colour and used as a lubricator. Crystals cross shaped.  Nontronite. hardness 7-7. beryl Be3Al2Si6O18 (emerald. usually yellow. Deep sea sediments commonly contain this iron-rich form. titanite CaTiSiO5. Have high cationexchange capability. A green flaky mineral. datolite. Mg10Al2(Si6Al2)O20(OH)16.o o o o  Also: beidelite hydrous micas  Chlorite.idocrase/ vesuvianite. Kyanite or Dysthene.  Vermiculite:  Amorphous clays.Mg)4Al18Si8O46(OH)2. Cyclosilicates  Also: benitoite BaTiSi3O9. morganite). agalmatolite. Low density. Al2SiO4(OH. Decay of organic matter is slow and humus content high. orthite. feldspar and other minerals. pyrophillite Al2Si4O10(OH)2. decomposition product of dark micas and is found in many altered rocks such as schists. cuspidine Ca4Si2O7(F.  Topaz. howlite. piedmontite.77. used as a gem. taramellite. permeable to water and air. hardness 8. dark grey to reddish brown. uranophane. Sorosilicates  Also: gehlenite Ca2Al2SiO7.

The principal clay minerals are kaolinite. The . montmorillonite. illite (or mica). and chlorite.The diagrams look at right angles to the sheets making up the main structure of the clay minerals. The silica and associated layers are stacked along the c-axis (up/down).

o Volcanic breccia is composed of angular mineral fragments embedded in a matrix. rigid. Low silica content.  Granite. Crystals intermingled. fluid avalanches. a fact having to do with the fractionation (where early crystallizing minerals separate fromt he rest of a magma). Density? Medium silica content. = quartz + mica + K-feldspar in solid solution. High silica content (acidic)  Gabbro. Similar to granite = quartz + feldspar + pyroxene + amphibole + mica + olivene. Medium silica content (intermediate). (intermediate).also known as plagioclase)  Peridotite. Color from flesh to black. Dark. dense. tough. Basaltic rocks (gabbro & basalt) are made up of feldspars and other minerals common in planetary crusts.7-2. Small crystals.5-2. dense. o Ignimbrites are sheets of coalesced fine particles which once flowed at high speed.  Basalt. slowly cooled inside the crust. The difference between granites and basalts is in silica content and their rates of cooling. Large crystals.5km). A basalt is about 53% SiO2. Pyroclastic rocks: debris ejected by volcanoes o Tuff is made of compacted debris from old volcanic ash showers. A layer of gabbro is found in the ocean crust. o Extrusive.  Andesite.8.  Rhyolite. High silica content (acidic). Granitic rock is much less common on the other terrestrial planets.  Diorite. = olivene + pyroxene + Ca-Feldspar in solid solution. Low silica content (basic) = sodium feldspar + amphibole.  Notes: Density in kg/litre or g/cm3 .9. the product of explosive eruptions.Notes: Density in kg/litre or g/cm3 Igneous rocks  Igneous rocks (Granites). An intermediate form between granite and diorite. Hard. hornblende).3 km deep. Dark.  Dacite.5 to 6. The lunar highlands have many gabbros (made largely of potassium feldspar . (Volcanic arcs) Density >2. (basic). o Intrusive.8. from 2. (Continental crust) Density 2. Igneous rocks are formed by the crystallisation of a magma. Venus and the asteroid Vesta. A fine-grained volcanic rock of granitic composition. extremely hot. They have been identified as major surface rocks on the dark lunar planes and much of Mars. a process that takes place uniquely on earth. (Plutonic rock = formed in the earth). unerneath the basalt layer (0. (Ocean crust) Density 2. due to the prevalence of plate tectonics.  Granodiorite. whereas granite is 73%. 60% orthoclase and plagioclase fledspars + 25% quartz + 5% darker minerals (biotite. cooled rapidly at the surface.

Intrusive rocks are coarse-grained in texture and crystallise slowly from magma deep in the earth's crust. there will be less of it inside to combine with the remaining elements. When magma is erupted onto the surface. predominantly of pyroxene and plagioclase feldspar. they sweep both oceanic sediment and continental sediment downward into the hot mantle. As gas pressure diminishes with age. leaving columns of basalt as a hard crater plug behind. Finally the volcano dies. Density increases from bottom right to top left. basalts . This is usually what a young volcano does. Later eruptions are more sedate. an introduction to Planet Oceanus. Other rock types have intermediate mineral compositions. The very hot magma is able to melt the continental crust and travel upward through it. that have segregated to the top of the chamber: rhyolite consisting mainly of quartz and feldspars. Note that amphibole = horneblende. But it is not just the gases that make a difference.4). cooling rapidly to rhyolite and dacite. As can be seen from the igneous rock classification diagram above. (Paul R Pinet in Oceanography. yet simple to understand. Extrusive rocks are fine-grained in texture and crystallise quickly from lava on or near the earth's surface. it can explode into clouds of ash. because of the enormous pressure of compressed gases like carbon dioxide CO2. Top left: high silica content (acidic). A batch of magma forms. lava pours out. resulting in outpourings of andesite.6) to bottom right (3. At the other end of the scale. first frothy. Granites and rhyolites consist predominantly of quartz and potash feldspar. Note that the density of the minerals increases from top left (2. As material leaves the magma chamber. and what happens inside such a batch cauldron is both very complicated. where they heat up violently by processes as yet unknown. bottom right: low silica content (ultrabasic). the first minerals to leave a magma chamber are also the lightest. The mineralogy determines the type of rock.) The processes inside a magma chamber As tektonic plates move underneath a continent. known as a magma chamber. through the vent of a volcano. cooling in the process. gabbros and basalts.Classification of igneous rocks This diagram shows the makeup of igneous rocks from the various minerals inside a magma chamber. 1992. The temperature range at which magma solidifies is 1100-700ºC.

while also losing its pressure. its concentration in the melt would decrease. almost purely. Several types of rock are formed. Note that phase (the liquid/solid boundary) changes not only with temperature but also with pressure. If albite were to precipitate out. complicate this simple example much further. To the left and above each curve. which by this time has increased its concentration to 95%. which would move against temperature (up the curve). A magma chamber may not make it all the way to the surface. The remaining liquid minerals can then still react to form different rocks. the mineral is liquid. to the right and below. The mix now moves from C to D. in this example albite and anorthite. all anorthite (30%) has solidified slowly. Here the anorthite starts to precipitate. it arrives at point A. The starting mix is 70% liquid albite and 30% liquid anorthite. but the result is a range of 'intrusive' igneous rocks with compositions matching the extrusive series closely (see diagram above). At point C. it leaves behind inside the earth a chamber full of peridotite. it increases the albite concentration. cooling entirely inside the crust instead. and albite moves from A to C while staying liquid. At this stage. The process of forming a rock from a solid solution melt This diagram shows how various minerals are formed from a magma batch with a fixed ratio of two minerals. it is solid. there is not enough pressure left to bring this material to the surface. Sedimentary rocks .consist mainly of feldspars and pyroxene. which consists mainly of the mineral olivene. As the liquid cools (black arrows from the top down). Typical of solid solutions. are the two phase curves for each mineral. which gives it higher density. Cooling starts above point A. In doing so. and is thus impossible. as shown by the right-hand diagram. As the magma chamber cools. The rectangle shows relative composition horizontally and temperature vertically. one on top of the other. Note that the many elements inside a magma chamber and resultant minerals. rapidly solidifying the 70% albite. The chemical process is now slightly different in that not the lightest minerals are 'leaving' the batch but those that solidify first. which makes the process of rock formation rather complicated and variable.

2.0039 mm)  Argillite. composed of clay particles which have been hardened and cemented.0625 .0625 mm)  Clay (0.0 .5 mm)  Fine (0.  Illite (muscovite).0. the Wentworth Scale of particle sizes is shown.  Colloid (<0. rich in organic matter.1 mm)  Medium (0. o Conglomerates (> 2mm) consolidated gravel  Boulder (>256mm)  Cobble (65-256 mm)  Pebble (4-64 mm)  Granule (2-4 mm) o Sandstones (0. Clastic rocks are further classified on the basis of grain size.0039 .062-2 mm) consolidated sand  Very coarse (1.125 mm) o Shales (<0.0002 . equivalent to ordinari mica (muscovite).  Clastic sedimentary rocks consist of rock and mineral grains derived from the chemical and mechanical breakdown (weathering) of preexisting rock.0. They contain rock fragments and more commonly. K2Al4(Si6Al2)O20(OH)4. o Gypsum (CaSO4.25 .0.0.0 mm)  Coarse (0.5 .0062 mm) consolidated mud.125 . particles of quartz and feldspar. Underneath each rock type.2H2O) o Anhydrite (CaSO4) o Halite (NaCl) salt o Limestone (CaCO3) . A sedimentary rock.0002 mm) Chemical sedimentary rocks are formed either from minerals that precipitate directly from aqeous (water) solutions or from the accumulation of fossilised remains of organisms which become limestone.  Silt (0.0.25 mm)  Very fine (0. is a sedimentary fine-grained rock.

Schists are foliated medium-grade metamorphic rock with parallel layers. Gneiss are banded rocks consisting of alternating layers of quartz and feldspar. Rocks formed under high temperatures (basalt. much hardened by pressure. sometimes containing fossils. These rocks show changes in mineral composition or texture or both. During the transformation into rock. while buried deep in the earth's crust. vertical to the direction of compaction. o Greywacke is a severely hardened sandstone with mica and feldspar. Metamorphic rock may be of sedimentary origin or stem from igneous rocks. Argillaceous (from French: argile = clay) rocks are derived from the lithification of clay-rich muds. Sediments or sedimentary rocks rarely. This area of rock classification is highly specialised and complex. just recrystallised. have compositions represented by the white area of the triangle. often common among greywacke. is transformed into very hard microcrystalline quartz-rich rock. o Argillite is a mudstone. if ever. originally deposited by diatoms and radiolarians. clay minerals (represented by the hypothetical hydrated aluminium and iron oxides as the end member). Sandstones are primarily composed of indurated sandy sediments. Iron-rich laterites and aluminium-rich beauxites are the products of intense weathering. Marble is metamorphosed limestone. Sediments and sedimentary rocks have the same ranges of composition.. Cherts are the sedimentary rock equivalent of biologically deposited siliceous deposits. in many cases dominantly quartz. Metamorphic rocks Metamorphic rocks have been chemically altered by heat. the amorphous silica. and silica (silicon dioxide). pressure and deformation. o Chert is a siliceous rock deposited chemically. gabbro) are less sensitive to metamorphosis than those solidified at low temperatures (quartz & felspar minerals). Quartzites represent metamorphosed sandstone.      Slates are foliated rocks representing low-grade metamorphic alteration of shales (laminated clay). of high metamorphic grade.Sediment composition triangle The diagram shows the range of sedimentary rock types represented as mixtures of three components: calcium (plus magnesium) carbonates. The following are causes of metamorphism: .

      Pressure from sinking deeper while overlaid by other sediments. . Temperature from igneous hot lava running nearby. either overhead or from intrusions (contact or thermal metamorphism). Temperature from steam escaping from hot vents. into warmer layers of the crust (metamorphism). Pressure from continental collision and consequent folding and overthrusting of the crust (dynamometamorphism). Temperature from sinking deeper. Repetitive metamorphism (polymetamorphism).