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Igneous Rocks

Igneous rocks are formed from the solidification of molten


rock material. There are two basic types.

Intrusive igneous rocks crystallize below Earth's surface and


the slow cooling that occurs there allows large crystals to
form. Examples of intrusive igneous rocks
are diorite,gabbro, granite, pegmatite, and peridotite.

Extrusive igneous rocks erupt onto the surface where they


cool quickly to form small crystals. Some cool so quickly that
they form an amorphous glass. These rocks
includeandesite, basalt, obsidian, pumice, rhyolite, scori
a, and tuf.

Andesite is a fine-grained, extrusive igneous rock


composed mainly of plagioclase with other minerals such
as hornblende, pyroxene and biotite. The specimen
shown is about two inches (five centimeters) across.
Igneous Rocks

Diorite is a coarse-grained, intrusive igneous rock that


contains a mixture of feldspar, pyroxene, hornblende and
sometimes quartz. The specimen shown above is about
two inches (five centimeters) across.

Basalt is a fine-grained, dark-colored extrusive igneous


rock composed mainly of plagioclase and pyroxene. The
specimen shown is about two inches (five centimeters)
across.
Igneous Rocks

Gabbro is a coarse-grained, dark colored, intrusive igneous


rock that contains feldspar, pyroxene and
sometimes olivine. The specimen shown above is about
two inches (five centimeters) across.

Obsidian is a dark-colored volcanic glass that forms from


the very rapid cooling of molten rock material. It cools so
rapidly that crystals do not form. The specimen shown
above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.
Igneous Rocks

Granite is a coarse-grained, light colored, intrusive igneous


rock that contains mainly quartz, feldspar, and mica
minerals. The specimen above is about two inches (five
centimeters) across.

Welded Tuf is a rock that is composed of materials that


were ejected from a volcano, fell to Earth, and then
lithified into a rock. It is usually composed mainly
ofvolcanic ash and sometimes contains larger size
particles such as cinders. The specimen shown above is
about two inches (five centimeters) across.
Igneous Rocks

Peridotite is a coarse-grained intrusive igneous rock that is


composed almost entirely of olivine. It may contain small
amounts of amphibole, feldspar, quartz or pyroxene. The
specimen shown above is about two inches (five
centimeters) across.

Pegmatite is a light-colored, extremely coarse-grained


intrusive igneous rock. It forms near the margins of a
magma chamber during the final phases of magma
chamber crystallization. It often contains rare minerals
that are not found in other parts of the magma chamber.
Igneous Rocks
The specimen shown above is about two inches (five
centimeters) across.

Rhyolite is a light-colored, fine-grained, extrusive igneous


rock that typically contains quartz and feldspar minerals.
The specimen shown above is about two inches (five
centimeters) across.

Pumice is a light-colored vesicular igneous rock. It forms


through very rapid solidification of a melt. The vesicular
texture is a result of gas trapped in the melt at the time of
Igneous Rocks
solidification. The specimen shown above is about two
inches (five centimeters) across.

Scoria is a dark-colored, vesicular, extrusive igneous rock.


The vesicles are a result of trapped gas within the melt at
the time of solidification. It often forms as a frothy crust on
the top of a lava flow or as material ejected from a
volcanic vent and solidifying while airborne. The specimen
shown above is about two inches (five centimeters) across.

Fire Opal is sometimes found filling cavities in rhyolite.


Long after the rhyolite has cooled, silica-rich ground water
Igneous Rocks
moves through the rock, sometimes depositing gems
likeopal, red beryl, topaz, jasper or agate in the cavities
of the rock. This is one of many excellent geological
photographs generously shared through a Creative
Commons License by Didier Descouens.