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Atlas of
igneous rocks
and their textures


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Atlas of
igneous rocks
and their textures

W.S. MacKenzie, C.H. Donaldson

and C. Guilford

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Longman Group UK Limited 1982

All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be Preface

reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
A ck nowled[!,emen ts
photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without either
the prior written permission of the Publishers or a
licence permitting restricted copying issued by the
Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 90 Tottenham Court
Part 1 The textures of igneous rocks
Road, London WIT 4LP.
(Numbers refer to photographs - not to pages)

First published 1982

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
MacKenzie, W. S.
Atlas of igneous rocks and their textures. 1--9
I. Rocks, Igneous-- Pictorial works
I. Title II. Donaldson. C.H.
III. Guilford, C.
552. l '0222 QE461 Granularity

ISBN- I 0: 0-582-30082-7
Terms referring to what the aided and unaided eye can or cannot see
ISBN-13: 978-0-582-30082-8 15--17
Terms indicating absolute ranges of grain size
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Terms indicating relative size of crystals
A Catalog entry for this title is available from the Library of Co ngress.

15 14 13 12
Crystal shapes
09 08 07 06
on crystals 23--25
Terms indicating quality of the development of faces
Set in 9/10 pt. Monophoto Times New Roman
Printed in China Terms indicating three-dimensional crystal shape
SWTC/12 General three-dimensional terms
Specific three-dimensional terms
Skeletal, dendritic and embayed crystals
Parallel-growth crystals
Sieve-textured crystals
Elongate, curved, branching crystals

Mutual relations of crystals (and amorphous materials)

Equigranular textures

lnequigranular textures
Seriate texture
Porphyritic texture
Glomeropor phyritic texture 46--47
Spilite 124
Poikilitic texture 48-51
Gabb r o 125
Ophitic texture 52-57
Teschenite 126
Interstitial text 58-63
Essexite 127
Dolerite 128
aligned and dire cted
Oriented, textures 64-66 Norite 129
Trachytic texture 64-66 Anorthosite 130
T rach ytoid texture 67--69
Par allel-growth texture see 31-32
(comb layering)
comb texture 70--71
rbicula r texture (orbicular layering) Intermediate rocks
O see 104

lnte rg rowth textures Andesite 131

Consertal texture 72-73 Boninite 132
Mic rographic texture (or graphic, if visible with the naked eye) 74-76 Diorite 133
Gra nophync texture 76-- 77 Tonalite 134
M yr mekitic texture 78 Kentallenite 135
Jnt rafasciculate texture 79
and bleb- like interg rowt Monzonite 136
La mel lar hs 80--83 Dacite 137
Sy m p lectite texture 84-85 Granodiorite 138
Radiate textures Trachyte 139
Spherulitic texture 86--8 8 Syenite 140
variohtic texture 89 Shonkinite 141
Rad iate inte rgrowth 90
Over growth textures
Skeletal or dendritic overgrowths 91 Acid rocks
Corona texture 92-94
Crystal zoning 95--102 Rhyolite 142
s Pantellerite 143
Banded texture (band ing) 103--104 Granite 144
Com b layering, orbicula r texture, and ocellar textu re 105 Alkali granite 145
Cavit y textures
Vesicula r texture 106--107
Am ygd aloidal texture 108 Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks
Miarolitic texture 109
ysa or (stone-bal l) texture
Lithoph Phonolite 146
Leucite phonolite 147
Nosean leucite phonolite 148
Pseudoleucite phonolite 149
Blairmorite 150
Nepheline s yenite 151
arieties of igneous rocks
Part 2 V Malignite 152
b rs refer to photogr aphs not to pages) Sodalite s yenite
(Num e 153

Nephelinite 154
Ijolite 155
uction Urtite
Introd 156
Basanite 157
Tephrite 158
Olivine melilitite 159
Ultrabasic Leucitite 160
Fergusite 161
Dunite 110 Minette 162
Peridotite 111 Alnoite 163
Kimberlite 112 Mafurite 164
Gar net peridotite 113 Fitzroyite 165
Pyroxen,ite 114 Wyomingite 166
Komatute 115 Madupite 167
Mey mechite 116 Carbonatite 168
Hornblendite 117 Chondrite (meteorite) 169
Achondrite (meteorite) 170

Basic rock

var. Tholeiitic basalt 118
Preparation of a thin section of rock
var. Alkali olivine basalt 119
var. Lu nar low-Ti basalt 120 References
var. Lu nar high-Ti basalt 121
var . Picritic 122
m1te Index
var. Ankara 123
Preface to them for their help in this respect. Most of the photographs were made from thin
sections of rocks in the teaching collections of the Geology Departments of Man
chester University and St Andrews University. Others were provided by friends
and colleagues who made available to us thin sections from their own research
collections, and we are most grateful to them for their help in this matter. We are
particularly indebted to Dr John Wadsworth and Mr Ian MacKenzie who read and
criticized all the descriptions of the textures and rocks. However, any failings in these
descriptions are our responsibility alone.
Finally, we caution those using the book not to regard the photographs as re
presenting all the known textures and varieties of igneous rock, or indeed all their
guises. These photographs are only an aid to recognition of textures and rock types
and can never substitute for looking at thin sections under the microscope.

The com . . . .
monest m eans of studymg . an .igneous roek .1s to examme 1t m . thm sect10n,
eith er W .
ith a petrograp
of the hic microscope or a hand lens, which permits identification
merals present and investigation of their textural relations. From such study
the sk
ed petrogra
cry stai pher can interpret details of the history of the magma which
\ ized to form
the rock.
To become
I ed requires many hours of study and trammg. Much of the

is acquired by
patient attention by the teacher to the student. The student
needs - 1 obser vations verified and this can result in the teacher being summoned
u natten
nute or so; with a class of ten or more, the student is for long periods
ed, becomes frustrated and loses interest. The remedy is for the student to
b e ab!e
to venfy his
of the s own observations by comparison with a photograph of a rock
ame typ
e or showing the same feature(s).
Th n aim of this book is to provide such a laboratory handbook to assist the
stu de
geology (undergraduate and amateur) begmnmg to study igneous rocks
in th i
n sec ion.
ad van l It is hoped that it may also be useful as a reference work for more
ced student
s and others interested in the natural history of rocks.
Th e IV rk IS
d1v1ded into two parts - Part I is devoted to descriptions and photo
grap hs 0
textures found in igneous rocks and Part 2 consists of photographs of
com m
W n (and a few not so common) igneous rocks.
e e selected those rocks and textural types which we believe may be en
counter ! an
m undergraduate course in geology but have made no attempt to
pro ctuc
e co mprehensive coverage of all igneous rocks which have been given _
indiv ict
a ames beca
tex tur _ use many of these names reflect only minor mineralogical or
a d Iueren
W ces.
have tried, as
far as possible, to avoid any interpretation of the origin of
of pre s and_ rocks,
entati on is
although the simple matter of arranging the rocks in some order
based to some extent on presumed genetic relationships between
the m.

In a pr evi . .
ousI Y pubhshed Atlas of Rock-Forming Minerals we have illustrated the We are much indebted to our colleagues and friends who have generously given us
ance of the thin sections of rocks from which to take photographs: they include the following
si d ere common rock-forming minerals so that here we have not con
It ecessary_ to describe the optical properties in detail. To be able to give a gentlemen; S. 0. Agrell, B. Atkinson, N. Binstead, K. Brooks, F. M. Broadhurst,
na m e to t I.S.E. Carmichael, J.B. Dawson, J. Esson, M. E. Fleet, F. G. F. Gibb, A. Hall, D. L.
e ma1onty of igneous rocks it is only necessary to be familiar with the
propert Hamilton, C. M. B. Henderson, A. M. Hopgood, E. Iki, R. Johnston, I. R.
es of between twelve and fifteen minerals and we have assumed that the user
of this
00k _is already able to recognize these minerals. MacKenzie, R. Nesbitt, E. Sapountzis, J. Wadsworth, Rong-shu Zeng and J.

. Thm sections can be observed under the simplest of microscopes . .
fitted with two
Zussman. We have also benefited greatly from having beem able to use the collections
pieces o . of the late Prof. H. I. Drever who was the teacher and friend of both WSM and CHD
f olaroid
P and a new field of interest is open to the amateur for only a modest
fi nancia1 o at St. Andrews University, although 25 years intervened between our time as his
utla y. Because some amateur geologists may be interested in preparing
their v students: he and his colleague Mr. R. Johnston were jointly responsible for arousing
0 n hm sect

Ma Y 0
ions we have included a brief description of how this may be done.
the photographs show a combination of shapes and colours which have a our interest in igneous rocks early in our careers.
special The staff of the publishers have been very patient and helpful and we especially
b eauty of
practic 1 the1 own, reflectmg the fact that while thin section study is of
wish to thank them for their consideration and for that quality essential to all
attrac / i m portance 1t can also be of aesthetic satisfaction. A few of the most
I ve pictures
unashamedly represent the authors' self-indulgence.
publishers - a sense of humour.
suaJ criticism of photomicrographs is that it is very often difficult to deter Miss Patricia Crook's help both in typing the manuscript and in preparing the
mine index is gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful to Dr Robert Hutchison of the
ich feature they are intended to illustrate. For this reason many textbooks
are illu British Museum (Natural History) for permission to photograph thin sections of the
t! ated by drawings in which the required feature may be exaggerated. We
have tr Prairie Dog meteorite and the Stannern meteorite, both of which are in the British
to test the usefulness of our photographs by asking our colleagues to
identif _
Y the mmeral assemblage or texture which we have illustrated. We are grateful Museum collections.
Part I

The textures
of igneous rocks

To English-speaking petrologists textures are the geometrical relationships among

the component crystals of a rock and any amorphous materials (glass or gas in
cavities) that may be present. They comprise the following properties:

I. Crystallinity (degree of crystallization) - i.e. the relative proportions of glass and

2. Granularity (grain size) - i.e. the absolute and the relative sizes of crystals.
3. Crystal shapes.
4. Mutual relations or arrangement of crystals and any amorphous materials

In this part of the book textures in each of these categories are described and illus
trated, some in plane-polarized light (PPL), some in cross-polarized light (XPL)
and some in both. Some textures exhibit more than one of the above properties and
we have indicated where this is so.
Petrography, of which textural relations are a part, is the descriptive and factual
side of petrology, whereas petrogenesis is the interpretive side. Thus genetic terms,
such as cumulate, cumulus crystal, cumulate texture, synneusis texture, exsolution
texture andfl.uxion texture should be avoided, as they combine factual description
with interpretation; they rob any person reading a petrographic description of
unbiased observations and can cast doubt on the objectivity of the petrographer who
wrote the description. For this reason, genetic textural terms are not included in this
book, there being suitable non-genetic terms available for all of them.
Remarkably few igneous textures have been reproduced in the laboratory and the
origins of even fewer could be claimed to be adequately understood. For these
reasons, we have made no comment on the origin of most of the textures; readers
should consult the texts by Iddings (1909), Holmes (1921), Niggli (1954), Hatch,
Wells and Wells (1972) or Cox, Bell and Pankhurst (1979), for discussion of the origin
of textures and their implications. However, it should be noted that many textures
are open to more than one interpretation and the newcomer to the subject is advised
to consider the possible origins and implications for himself before reading one
of these texts. He is then likely to interpret the crystallization of a rock more objec
tively and flexibly than if the 'standard interpretation' is adopted slavishly. This
comment is particularly relevant to the interpretation of 'order of crystallization'
of minerals in a rock. We have found that both students and teacher can benefit
from a two-hour discussion of the subject; the student who is unencumbered by pre
conceptions can be remarkably inventive and provide his teacher with copious new
ideas for consideration.
In studying rocks in thin section we must not forget that only a two-dimensional
view is present and hence the true three-dimensional texture has to be deduced from
examination of the dispositions of many crystals in the section. In rocks with a strong
preferred orientation of crystals, two or more sections of different attitude may be
required to reveal the texture adequately.

lline pitchstone with perlitic

3 Hypocr ysta

se, biotite and magnetite in this rock

Crystals of plagiocla
set in glass (black in XPL ) which has spherical frac-
Crystallinity as perlitic cracks: these appear as c1rc1 es m
tures known

thin section.
Igneous roc ks ra nge 10 . . .
. crysta11.m1ty from entirely crystals to ent1rely glass. Adjectives East Germany; magnification

Dacite from Chemnitz,

use d to d escnb e these states are shown

on the following scale: L and XP L.
x 20, PP

JOO% crystals
100% glass
holocrystalline hypocrystalline1 holohya/ine
or hypohyaline

The adjectives glassy, . .

'treous and aII
v1 md'1cate that a rock 1s more or less
comp1ete1y gIass.

1 Hypocryst allin e
rocks can b e descn'b ed more prec.isely by stating the
relative proportions a'

l I o gIass.
crysI as

1 Holocrystalline anorthositic gabbro

Elongate crystals of plagioclase feldspar, some wrapped

round olivine crystals, form a framework in this rock, the
interstices of which are filled with smaller plagioclase,
olivine and augite crystals. The purplish-blue area at the
top right of this photograph is an augite crystal which
includes a number of small plagioclase and olivine crystals.

Perpendicular Feldspar gabbro from Middle Border Group

ofthe Skaergaard intrusion, East Greenland; magnification
x 7, XPL.

2 Holocrystalline granite 4 Hy pocrystalline basalt

Crystals of biotite, quartz, 'perthitic' potassium-rich feld Small olivine phenocrysts (colourless in PPL) and colum
spar (large crystal bottom right) and zoned sodium-rich nar, skeletal titanaugite crystals (pinkish-beige colour in
feldspar makes up this granite. The speckled appearance PPL) are enclosed by murky brown glass. No plagioclase
in the cores of the plagioclase feldspars is caused by fine has crystallized in this rock. The deeper pink colour
around the margin of some of the titanaugites is a narrow
inclusions of mica.
mantle of Ti-rich amphibole.
Granite from Ross of Mull, Scotland; magnification x 14,
XPL. Basalt from Quarsut, West Greenland; magnification x 35,
PPL and XPL.


Hypocrystalline basalt (continued)

ticles of mare basalt in lunar soil

1 Glassy par

many of them spherical, are orange-brown

Pieces of glass,
blac k in colou r. Some of the darker ones are partially

;ystalline. These
particles were formed by rapid cooling
basalt m_elt; 1t has been s_uggested that _ the
of drop lets
ed either m_ a fire-fountammg lava eruption,
droplets form
by mete orite impact mto a lava lake or mto a molten

solid lava flow. (Contrast 6.) The scarce,

are pyroxene (pale brown) and feldspar
shaped fragm

Lunar basalt 74220 from Taurus Littrow Valley collected

by Apollo 17 astronauts; magnificationx43, PPL.

5 Glassy rock

The photograph shows abundant, very small crystals

(probably quartz or feldspar) enclosed by glass. Note the
banding caused by (a) differences in abundance of crystal
lites, (b) crystallites in the lighter bands having a slight
preferred alignment and (c) differences in colour of the
glass. The small brown, isolated round objects are known
as 'spherulites' (see Spheruli1ic 1ex1ure, p. 54). (See also 14.) 7a Liquid lmmiscibility
Globules of one glass in another are found in some rocks"om Arran, Scotland; magnification x 12, PPL. and these are attributed to immiscibility of the two
liquids. In this rock they can only be seen at very high
power in thin films of glass between laths of plagioclase.

Specimenfrom basalt lava, Lava beds National Monument

California, U.S.A.: magnification x 600, PPL.

6 Glassy basalt threads - Pele's hair

These filaments of basalt glass form when particles in
molten lava spray are caught by the wind and drawn out.
Pele is a mythical lady, believed by native Hawaiians
reside within the volcano Kilauea. (Contrast 7.)

Specimen .fi"om Erta Ale volcano, Ethiopia; magnification

x8, PPL.

Glass, or devitrified glass, is often an important constituent of the pyroclastic rocks

known as ash:fall tuffs and ash:flow tu.ffs (or ignimbrites). Such rocks typically have
fragmental textures, i.e. they comprise mixtures of fragments of rocks, crystals and
glass, predominantly less than a millimetre in size (8-9). In an ash-flow deposit the
glass fragments may initially be plastic enough to be partly or wholly welded to
gether as the weight of overlying material causes compaction of the constituent
fragments; such a rock is known as a welded tuf
j (Sb). If sufficient heat is available,
glassy fragments devitrify.

6 7
Crystallinity Granularity

Sa Glassy unwelded rhyolite tuff

The glassy fragments in this rock, some of which are

banded and slightly flattened, are not welded to one
another. They and the crystals of quartz and feldspar are
embedded in fine glassy particles (ash).
Recent ignimbrite, from Whakatane, North Island, Ne\\I
Zealand; magnification x 46, PPL

Sb Glassy welded crystal tuff

The glassy matrix in this rock has an apparent discon

tinuous lamination caused by extreme compaction and Granularity
welding of original pumice fragments. The regular align
ment of the flattened fragments is known as eutaxitic This property embraces three different concepts : (I) what the aided and unaided
texlure. eye can or cannot see; (2) absolute crystal sizes (p. 12); and (3) relative crystal sizes
(p. 14 ).
Welded tu.ff from Tibchi granite ring-complex, Nigeria;
magnification x 36, PPL.
Terms referring to what the aided and unaided eye can or cannot see

'Pegmatitic texture is a 1arie1y of pha11erocrys1alline in ll'hich !he Phanerocrystalline (phaneritic texture of American petrologists) - all crystals of the
cry!als are s1riki11glr large, bigger 1ha11 1-2 cm, and in rare principal minerals can be distinguished by the naked eye (see 10). 1
inslances 11p lo 111mff me/res.
Aphanitic - all crystals, other than any phenocrysts present (see p. 14 ), cannot be
'The 1er111 aphyric is so111eli111es 11sedfor aphanilic rocks 1vhich
distinguished by the naked eye. 2 Two sub-types exist:
lack phe11ocr.rs1s (eg, 60, 63, 107).
3Felsitic texture is sometimes applied lo siliceous rocks 11ith ii/ (a) Microcrystalline - crystals can be identified in thin section with a petrographic
defined, al111os1 cr.rp1oc1Ts!alline, gre.r-polarizing areas composed microscope (11). Crystals only just large enough to show polarization colours
of more or less equigra1111lar aggrega1es <J( quar/z and alkali.feld
(less than 0.01 mm) are called microlites.
spar. The 11a11i:& felsite is ofien applied lo such rocks, a/1ho11gh 1hi.1
is more con1111011ly afield /ermforfine-grained acid ma/erial of w1- (b) Cryptocrystalline3 crystals are too small to be identified even with the micro

cer1ai11 mode off occurrence. scope (12 and 13). Globular, rod-like and hair-like crystals which are too small
to show polarization colours are known as crystallites.

9 Tuff 10 Phanerocrystalline granites

This fragmental rock consists of crystals of quartz, alkali The crystals in the two granites, illustrated here in hand
feldspar and plagioclase of various sizes and shapes, specimen, are clearly visible to the naked eye. Although
pieces of glassy rhyolite (e.g. centre) and pieces of the rocks contain the same minerals (alkali feldspar,
fine-grained tuff, all enclosed in a fine-grained banded plag10clase feldspar, quartz and biotite) the proportions
ash matrix which originally may have been glassy. (See of the minerals are not the same, and this influences the
also 13.) rock textures. Thus the Shap granite contains two distinct
sizes of potassium feldspar crystals (pink), whereas the
Tuff from Llanelhvedd, Wales; magnification x JO, PPL Eagle Red Granite has only one.
and XPL.
Granite from Shap, England (opposite and 'Eagle Red'
_ )
gramte, Soi11h Africa (next page); both magnifications x 1.
A thin section view of the Shap granite is shown in 144
Granularity Granularity

e rock (continued)
Phanerocrystalline granites (continued) Cryptocrystallin

11 Microcrystalline olivine basalt 13 Cryptocrystalline matrix in a tuff

This rock consists mainly of plagioclase feldspar, augite Cryptocrystalline texture is common in tuffs (i.e. con
and olivine but, without the aid of the microscope, solidated ash), as in the matrix of this rock. Here the
individual crystals would not have been distinguishable. matrix encloses fragments of shale and quartz crystals.
In parts of the photograph the randomly arranged (See also 8 and 9.)
rectangular plagioclases are enclosed by areas showing Tufffrom unknown locality; magnification x 16, PPL and
uniform yellowish interference colours, these are augite XPL.

Olivine basaltfi"om North-west Skye, Scotland; magnifica

tion x 11, PPL.

12 Cryptocrystalline rock

Comparison of these two photographs shows that the

brown material in the PPL view is birefringent but that
the individual crystals are of submicroscopic size. The
clear areas in the PPL view are slightly more coarsely
crystalline, as can be seen in the XPL view.

Rhyolite from Island of Pantelleria, Italy; magnification

x 72, PPL and XPL.

10 11
Gran ularity
ed )
. ned gabbro (continu
14 Pitchstone containing crystallites of two Fme-gra1


Radiate clusters of crystallites are set here in glass.

Th e
bulk of the glass contains even smaller crystallites, causi
the grey colour, whereas ad jacent to the larger crystall ite
the smaller ones are absent. This is a higher magnification
view of the rock illustrated in 5.

Pitchstone from Arran, Scotland; magnification x 52, PPL.

16 Medium-grained olivine gabbro

The spaces between the tabulr crystls ofplagioclase in

this rock are occupied by augite and 1lmemte. At th op
right of the picture the plagioclas abuts onto an ohvme
f grain siz crystal. The augite crystals contam lamt;llae of orthopy
l'er"'s . d' . oges o
'" m 1catmg absoIute ra roxene.
C rs >5m Gabbro from Lower Zone b of the Skaergaard intrusion,
rne te
A r; arse- g rained - crystal d.ia. e ter s 1-5mm East Greenland; magnification x 27, PPL and XPL.
v-' e d J11 '
ta1 d 1a s <I mm
P tum-grained - crys
111e-g m eter
rained - crystal d ia 6 d 17) were a ll taken at the same magnification
1'he next six hs (15, 1 l a tes to the number of crystals . .
seen in a given
. photog rap
e re
"' '><. 27) to m i n e ext ent of the texture v1s1ble at that magm-
d'1cate how g r a ce th
..,,., ) an
d he.n the tine-grame
zab le m
d roek , 1t 1s not so
"' d of view (4 2 x 3 1 m,,. ' s re co gni
ture 1
'.' C a t j 0

n. Wh1l e th e overall tex bjective lens would be necessary to examme 1t

ll:J. t ] w -po we r 0 ve a sufficient ly
rare ly .ha

he o low-pow er objective
" deq c arse one and
,, a o . scopes
I u ate 1 y. etrographie rn1 cro oa r se-gramed rocks; a hand lens shou1d be used
p f c .
f, l:J.s for r es o vailable.
examining the textu oid, ifa
po Jar
or o
t h ese, with two she ets f

15 Fine-grained gabbro

This rock contains plagioclase, orthopyroxene, augite and

magnetite; some of the orthopyroxene crystals (low
birefringent mafic mineral) contain narrow lamellae of
augite. Although the rock is fine grained , it is called a
'gabbro' because it is from a large intrusion; the fine
grain size results from quick cooling at the intrusion
margin. Another term that could be used for this rock is
microgabbro (see p. 78).

Gabbro from chilled margin of the Skaergaard intrusion,

East G reenland; magnification x 27, PPL and XPL.

17 Coarse-grained olivine gabbro

anular peridotite
18 Equigr
At this magnification only parts of three large olivines
-sized olivine crystals, some of them in clots,
and one plagioclase are visible, such that textural relatio
f i
n 0 nnly
of this rock, with plagioclase filling the

ns bulk
are not determinable in this single view. onn the
. ' es The black. material . microcrystalline haema
mterst ic .
. c nned by oxidation of ohvmes and the green matena I

Gabbro from Rhum, Scotland; magnificationx27, PPL t1te 10

and XPL. is a clay mine
the Skaergaard intrusion, East Greenland;
Peridotite ji'om
7, PPL.and XPL.
of equ1granular rocks are shown m 43,
magn ificatio nx2 .
1 ional
photo), 134, 140 (third photo), 168.
113, 111. 125, 130 (first

19 Porphyritic andesite

. .
Terms md1catmg rela
tive size of crystals In this rock the phenocrysts (some of them in clots) of
plagioclase, hornblende (khaki colour in PPL), augite
- ls are of approximately the same size.
Equigi.anulm. all crysta (pale green in PPL) and magnetite, are surrounded by
Inequigranular cr ystaI s differ substantially m s i ze. A common fine-grained groundmass of plagioclase, magnetite and
vanety porphyritic
y lar ge cryst ls (phenocrystsi embed
el ded in finer-grained

texture involve s r ela t iv ) glass.

groun dass (N.B. Th
e same me
may be present as both
phenocrysts and
ro t
a e wi porphyritic texture the Andesite from Siebengebirge, Germany; magnification x 23,
groundmass.) In naming minerals present as
listed and followed by the suffix
:Phync, e.g. , homblende-
PPL and XPL.
phenocrysts shouid be .

, Ho ever' if the groundmass is

pigeonite-phyric a n de si te . . w. glassy, the term 'vitro -
o 1 e v1 troph re'. has olivine phenocrysts set in
phyre' is used e .g . an h v

y glass the
e s
ferr a vlliop iync.C3., t4Z). Seriate texture involves a on -

textu re in this 'ca

. se i
s r e
. ystals. of the p rmc1pal mmera I s,
tm uo us range in siz es of cr. . 1'f the crystals show a
r n la
h . rn qfm g n u r texture is said to be hiatal. Caution is
e , e e
broke n series of siz s t
'fication o senate and. h1atal textures, smc . .
necessary in the 1'den t1 e the d1mens1 ns of
n epend on the a ttitude of the mtersec tion
a crystal in a thin se ctio d of the crystal in
three dimensio ns.

a e t ocrysts which have diameters bet

The p r e ,;x micro- may be dd d os 'Jphen ween 0 .05 and
. ornhenocryst .
0.5 mm (e.g. oli i e
J ' v n 1111cr


Porphyritic andesite (continued)

e vitrophyre
21 Plagioclase-augite-magnetit

three minerals plagioclase, augite a.nd

Phenocrysts of the
mag netite, some of them 1 clots, are set m glass which
. s of plag1oclase.
contains cryst allite
magnification x 20. PPL.
Basalt from Arran, Scotland;
See J32f or another example of v!lrophyre.

20 Leucite-phyric micro-ijolite 22 Seriate-textured olivine basalt

Two, large, shapeless crystals of leucite (very dark and The crystals of olivine, augite and plagioclase in this
showing multiple twinning in XPL photograph) are here basalt all show a wide range of grain size from as small as
surrounded by an equigranular groundmass consisting of 0.01 mm up to 4mm. Note the abundance of groundmass
crystals of elongate augite (bright interference colours), inclusions in some of the crystals, giving them a sponge
equant nepheline (grey in XPL) and interstitial biotite, like appearance.
leucite and magnetite. The amorphous material in the
Olivine basalt from Arthur's Seat. Edinburgh. Scotland;
PPL view is a clay mineral.
magnification x 11. PPL and XPL.
Micro-ijolite from the Batsberg intrusion, East Greenland; See 44 and I37 for other examples of this texture.
magnification x 11, PPL and XPL.
Many other examples of porphyritic rocks can be seen by
leafing through the book.

Crystal shapes

st in basalt
edral olivine phenocry
:rystal shapes 25 Anh

fwo kinds of term are used to describe crystal shape: (I) those relating to the quality The ent1. .e perime ter of the large olivin e crystal, at extinc
)fthe development of faces on crystals and (2) those specifying the three-dimensional icture
tion ar1e 15pres has an irregu lar outlin e and no planar
;hapes of individual crystals (p. 19). t
iaces. gs tPe' enforme
' ( The narro w brown rim on the crystal

is 'tdd'e.m t'

d by hydra tion and oxida

tion of the
rerms indicating the quality of the development of faces on crystals olivin ) magnifica-
Mauritius, Indian Ocean;
Olivine bas aIt firam
egrettably, three sets of words are in use to describe the same ideas, the most tion x 32, X PL .
:ommonly used set being that in the first column of the following table.
Preferred terms Synonymous terms Synonymous terms Meaning
Euhedral ldiomorphic Automorphic Crystal completely
bounded by its
characteristic faces.
Subhedral Hypidiomorphic Hypautomorphic Crystal bounded by only
some of its characteristic
Anhedral Allotriomorphic Xenomorphic Crystal lacks any of its
characteristic faces.

23 Euhedral olivine in olivine basalt

The photograph shows the characteristic six-sided eu

hedral shape of olivine in sections through the prism and Terms indicating three-dimensional crystal shape
dome faces. Note the slight enclosure of matrix material possile to see the three
-grained rocks it is oftenfiner-g
by one of the prism faces. nd s ecimens of coarsel on e. For ramed rocks, however,
m:sionl shape ofa crysta a broken surfaci n h l
Olivine basalt from Ubekendt Ejland, West Greenland;
magnification x 40, XPL.
s :c t ; :i nh:
eii ;tf;;i::el. :ti: o
of the crystals in genera
General three..fiimensional terms

The shape may either beAanandequidi mensional (syn. equant) or an inquidi ension

one, as illustrated in figs. B where the names applie d to the variou s s apes are
Fig. A Examples of equidimensional crystal shapes

The words grain and granule are often used for equi
dimensional crystals, and drop and bleb for particularly
small examples.
24 Subhedral olivine in picritic basalt

Some of the faces on this equidimensional olivine crystal

are flat, planar ones, whereas others are curved and
equant polyhedral
Picritic basalt from Ubekendt Ejland, West Greenlalld;
magnification x 72, XPL.

equant anhedral

ys tal
Fig. B Examples of inequidimensional shapes
27 Skeletal olivine
N.B. Although these are euhedral examples, they could be
subhedral or anhedral. While superficially resembling the euhedral outline of the
olivine in 23, the crystal occupying the bulk of this picture
*Bladed .feldspar crystals hy common usage are .fi'equently des has a complex interior form and incomplete prism and
cribed as 'lath-shaped' or as 'laths of.feldspar. in allusion to the dome faces.
slats (laths) in a Venetian blind.
Picritic basalt from Ubekendt Ejland, West Greenland;
magnification x 15, PPL.

bla ded* columnar acicular
(syn. (syn. needle-like,
prismatic) fibre, fibrous,

28 Dendritic olivines

All the delicate, dendritic crystals in this photograph are

olivines which formed during exceedingly rapid solidifica
tion of the basalt melt, part of which became theyellow
dimension terms glass.
. thl'ee-
itic and embayed crystals Specimen of olivine basalt melted and then cooled at
I dendl'
kefeta /s ar. e those . wh'ICh have hollows and gaps,

yst a possibly regularly develop-

1400/hr in the laboratory; magnification x 40, PPL.
l cr
keleta u ually wi th particular crystal lographi c onentat10ns. In thin
nd s r a e y
i, a
a pp ea s mba ments1 and holes in the crystal, filled with section these
i ac es ndnt 1c crystals
or gIass De. . consist of a regular array of fibres sharing a

ystIos n optical onen

tatwn (1.e. all part
of a single crystal) and having a branching
JfO rn n
resernbdh gthaet of a tree or the veins in a leaf or a feather. In practice many
t:als can be escnb d as either skeletal or dendritic because they have charcteris-
of b
111101 misconception among petrolo
gists is that the terms 'embayment' and 'embaye
1 d'
4 con or a crystal by reaction w1'th 11qw'd. Wh11e this may

r pflOI be true of some crystals

I eso th rs (e.g. 26 and 27) have embaym

Yf9J, o e ents which probably formeiduring growth.

26 Skeletal olivines in picritic basalt 29 Embayment in augite phenocryst

All the large crystals in this rock are olivines and each The large augite crystal in this photograph contains a
shows a different shape in section; some are complex deep embayment filled with the basaltic groundmass. The
skeletal crystals (e.g. elongate yellow crystal on the left), irregular outline of this embayment distinguishes it from
others are relatively simple skeletons (e.g. equant orange the embayments in the skeletal crystals in 27. Note also
crystal, middle right) and yet others have only small the distinct marginal zoning and the delicate 'patchy zon
embayments. ing' within the crystal.

Picritic basalt from Ubekendt Ejland, West Greenland; Olivine basalt from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland;
magnification x 40, XPL. magnification x 23, XPL.

Crystal sha Crystal shapes

allel growth in a very coarse-g
30 Embayed quartz 32 Par
The deeply embayed quartz crystal in this olivine basalt
el growth is of a ver.Y lage olivine crysta
contains brown glass and small, columnar, skeletal Here the parall
width of the fi e ld of view 1s I. 7 cm and this
pyroxenes. It is also surrounded by a film of the glass and The actual
small part of the parallel growth, whose
an aggregate of equant granular augite crystals which shows only a
50cm and height is 150cm. The whole
separate it from the basaltic groundmass. total width is
es several hundred parallel units like the ones
Olivine basaltfrom Lassen Park, USA; magnification x 42, Plagio clase and augite occupy the 'channels'
show n here.
PPL. the paralle l growth s. In the XPL picture the
rotated so that the olivine is not in
polars have been.
nction . The slight differences m b!fefnngence of the
of the picture are caused by
olivine at the top and bottom
secti on being thinner there. This rock has the special
textural name harrisite
Scotland; magnification
Feldspathic peridotite from Rhum,
x 7, PPL and XP

. wth crystals
The term is
applied t
crystallog 0 an aggregate of elongate crystals of the same mineral whose
axes are mutually parallel, or almost so. Although in thin section
the in dividu
al parts
dimensio of the aggregate may be isolated from one another' in the third
n theY

are probablY connected. A parallel-growth crystal is therefore a
smgle ' inco
mP 1 ete
crystal formed by a particular style of skeletal growth.

31 Olivine parallel growth

The elongate olivines near the middle of the photograph

and showing blue interference colour all have the same
crystallographic orientation, and hence represent a single,
parallel-growth crystal. The crystal with yellowish-green
interference colour shows how the parallel-growth crystal
might appear, if sectioned at right angles.

Picritic basalt from Ubekendt Ejland, West Greenland;

magnification x 23, XPL.

Sieve-textured crystals
These contain abundant, small, interconnected, box-shaped glass inclusions,
the crystals a spongey, at porous, appearance.

22 23
Crystal shapes
Crystal shapes

33 Sieve-textured feldspar
g augite in lamprophyre dyke
35 Branchin
The core of this xenocryst consists of glass and alk
ali r, alignd phenocrysts in this photograph are
feldspar in a fine-mesh-like arrangement; the narrow rim The acicula _
te, formmg composite, radiatmg, curved and
is an overgrowth of plagioclase.

aJI 0f augi
groups. Individual needles can be seen to con-
branching ht IY from
straight port1 ons ouset s11g
Olivine basalt from Lassen Park, USA; magnification x 62, sist of several . _ one
PPL. th er, and having very slightly different onentat10 ns;
ano , . .
'needle its curved appearance. The margm
this gives each
left. (See also 70.)
of the dyke Jay to the

Fourchite from Fiskaenesset area, South-west Greenland;

mag nification x 20, XPL.

36 Curved and branching plagioclase crystals

in dolerite

The large composite plagioclase crystals in this rock are

elongate parallel to the c crystallographic axis and flat
tened parallel to (010). From the direction in which they
branch, and from that in which the crystal at the bottom
widens, it can be deduced that the crystals grew from right
to left. The matrix consists of fine-grained plagioclase,
olivine, pyroxene, amphibole, devitrified glass and clay

Feldspathic dolerite, Ubekendt Ejland, West Greenland;

magnification x 16, PPL and XPL.

Elongate, curved, branching crystals

These are rarely genuinely bent, rather the curvature is caused by developmen
t of
branches along the length of the crystal, each branch having a slightly
crystallographic orientation to its neighbours (e.g. 34-36).

34 Curved branching augite

The highly coloured crystals in this photograph are com

plex, branching crystals of augite in subparallel align
ment. They form part of a pyroxene-rich band in a
differentiated dyke. (See also 71.)
Dolerite from North Skye, Scotland; magnification x 21 ,

Crystal shapes

Crystal shapes

37 Composite branching augite crystal

e pseudomorphs after olivine
38 carbonat
These photographs illustrate a particularly intriguing ered basalt show typical sec-
crysts in this alt
The pheno

shape of branching augite crystal: it consists of groups of .

. etal olivine wit h me1 us10ns o f groundmass m
uons of skel ,
slightly diverging needles, subparallel to the length of th e
rystal, which apparently have grown from curved branch

t e emba ym ents. However the photograph shows the
ts to be occupied by finely crystallized carbon
mg needles onented approximately at right angles to the p enocrys
, . dicating that replacement of olivine has occurred.
crystal length. Despite the uniform interference colour ate m
Castleton, Derbyshire, England;
of many of the needles, a sweeping style of extinction occurs Altered basalt from
when the microscope stage is rotated under crossed polars cat ion x 27, XP L.
indicating that the needles are not all of the same crystallo s shown in 149.
graphic orientation.
Another example of pseudomorph is

Peridotitic komatiite from Munro Township, Ontario,

Canada; magnification x 52, PPL and XPL.

Mutual relations of crystals (and amorphous materials)

The various patterns of crystal arrangement which can exist are conveniently
introduced under the following headings: equigranular textures; inequigranular
textures; oriented textures; intergrowth textures; radiate textures; overgrowth
textures; banded textures; and cavity textures. Particular textures may belong to
more than one of these categories and some also belong to the categories of crystal
linity, granularity and crystal shape. Thus certain of the textures introduced in this
section have already been mentioned and reference is made to photographs of them
in previous sections .

Equigranular textures

Depending on the general shape of the crystals, three textures can be distinguished
in which crystals of the principal minerals in a rock are of roughly uniform grain

name synonyms definition

euhedral granular panidiomorphic granular bulk of the crystals are

euhedral and of uniform size

subhedral granular hypidiomorphic granular bulk of the crystals are

subhedral and of uniform size

(anhedral)1 granular allotriomorphic granular bulk of the crystals are

(granitic and granitoid anhedral and of uniform size
textures apply to siliceous
rocks only)

Boundaries between these categories are not sharply defined and consequently
the terms are applied very subjectively. Furthermore a rock may not fit neatly into a
single category, thus one in which 50 % of the crystals are euhedral and
50 %

Pseudomorphs anhedral might best be described as having a mixed euhedral and anhedral granular

It may e foun that crstals in a thin sectio
n, although having the characteristic
texture .
shape 0 a particular mmeral, prove to be of In addition to the examples of these textures in 39-43, others may be found in
. another mineral, or an aggregate of
crystals of another mmeral. The nam 18, 111, 113, 117, 125, 130, 134, 140 and 168.
f!Seudomorph is used for such a crystal. If the

pseudomorph as t e same compos1t10n
. as the original crystal (e.g. 'quartz'
. in
place oftndym1te) 1t 1s known as a
1 This adjective is commonly omitted from this textural name.

Mutual relations of crystals:
equigranular textures

Mutual relations of crystals: equigranular

39 Euhedral granular hornbl
42 Granular granite
Rocks possessing truly
euhedral granular text
very rare. The one in this ures ar
e the scarce biotite crystals, the quartz, micro
more common situation
figure is a good exampl
e of a E cepfng
in which only some of the e ad albite crystals which make up the bulk of the
crystals clm
of the principal mineral and have slightly interdigitating bound
, hornblende, are euhedra
l anct rock are anhedral
some strictly are subhed .
e consertal texture see p. 45).
ral. In contrast to 40, ther an es (i
e are a

higher proportion of
crystals with faces and
'euhedral granular' is the term Granitefrom Madagascar; magnificationx 13, XPL.
therefore suggested as
propriate. It should be most ap
appreciated, however, that
petrologist might prefer another
'subhedral granular'.
Hornblendite from Ard
sheal Hill, Scotland; mag
x 7, XPL. nification

40 Subhedral granular gabbro

43 Granular lherzolite
The stout prismatic plag
ioclase feldspar crystals
dominate this rock are which
mostly subhedral. The The crystals of olivine (colourless in PPL), and pyroxenes
interstitial crystals are anhedral
of orthopyroxene, aug (pale brown in PPL) which make up 95 % of this rock,
magnetite. ite and
lack any crystal faces.

Gabbro from Middle Zon Lherzolite xenolith from the Matsoku kimber
e of the Skaergaard intru lite pipe,
East Greenland; magnific sion, Lesotho; magnificationx 16, PPL and XPL.
ation x 20, XPL.

41 (Anhedral) granular tro

Only a few of the plag
ioclases in this equigra
possess a face and non nular rock
e of the olivines do. The
are therefore predominan crystals
tly anhedral and the 'mo
texture is granular. saic'

Troctolite from Garbh

Bheinn intrusion, Skye,
magnificationx 17, XPL Scotland;

Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures
Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures

Inequigranular textures

This category i ludes sev n kinds of

.. texture: (a) seriate; (b) porphyritic; (c)
lomeroporphy:1t1c; (d) po1kiht1c; (e) oph1t1c; (f) subophitic;
(mtersertal and mtergranular).It 1s not unco and (g) interstitial
mmon for a single thin section to display
more than one of these textures.

Seriate texture Porphyritic texture

Crystals of the principal minerals show a Relatively large crystals (phenocrysts) are surrounded by finer-grained crystals of
continuous range of sizes.(See also p. 14.)
the groundmass. (See also p. 14.)

44 Seriate-textured basalt
45 Augite-olivine-leucite-phyric melilitite
This basalt, consisting of just plagioclase,
augite and a Augite (greyish-green and green in PPL) is present in
small proportion of magnetite, shows a range
in sizes of three generations in this sample - large euhedral pheno
plagioclase and augite crystals from <0.0l-0.5m
m. crysts, subhedral microphenocrysts and minute ground
Basalt from Island of Mauritius; magnificatio mass crystals. The leucite occurs as colourless, equant
n x 43, PPL
and XPL. euhedral microphenocrysts, most easily identified by
See 22 and 137 for other seriate-textured rocks. their very low birefringence in the XPL picture, and the
olivine as faint-grey, euhedral, columnar micropheno
crysts. Note the complicated zoning pattern in one of the
augite phenocrysts, the prominent margmal zonmg and
the line of small inclusions of groundmass crystals m
another.Melilite is confined to the fine-grained granular
groundmass and cannot easily be seen in these photo
Me/ilititefrom Malawa, Celebes; magnification x 11, PPL
and XPL.
Many more examples of porphyritic texture may be found
by leafing through the book.

Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures
Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures

Poikilitic texture
ls of one,
al enclose numerous smaller crysta
Relatively large crystals of one miner not neces
randomly orient ed and generally, but
Glomeroporphyritic texture or more other minerals which are
know n as an oikocr yst (or enclosing

sarily, u iformly distributed. The host crysta l is
A variety of porphyritic texture in which the phenocrysts are bunched, or clustered, . Although chadacrysts are generally
crystal) and the enclosed crystals as chadacrysts
m aggregates r clots called glomerocrysts. (A minority of petrologists maintain that not be unifor m in size; sometims they d1sply pro
equant, or nearly so, they need tmg
the term applies on! to monomineralic clots and for polymineralic clots they use r to the margin of an 01kocryst, md1ca
gressive change in size from the interio .
the term cumulophync texture.) Glomerophyric is usually used synonymously with cryst growt h at the time of enclo sure. It 1s not customary
differences in extent of chada ls of
glomeroporphynt1c, though the former term strictly should be reserved for clusters of gement in which scrce inute crysta .
to apply poikilitic texture to the arran
equant crystals (Johannsen, 1931 ). (Synneusis texture also describes crystal clots but ded in a crysta l, nor to that m which the enclosmg
accessory minerals are embed
mcludes the genetic implication that the crystals 'swam together' and is therefore as that included.
. mineral is approximately the same size
best avoided.)

e of olivine crystals by
46 Glomeroporphyritic tholeiitic basalt 48 Poikilitic enclosur
The photograph shows crystal clots of different sizes
ely 100 of olivine
composed of plagioclase, augite and olivine crystals,
. In this photograph approximat
enclosed by fine-gramed mtergranular- and intersertal fairly unifo rm size are enclosed by a smgle augite
textured groundmass. crystal (at extinction).
Basalt from unknown locality; magnification x 11, XpL. Peridotite from Quarsut, West Greenland;
x22, XPL.

47 Glomeroporphyritic hawaiite 49 Plagioclase chadacrysts enclosed by

Discrete phenocrysts of plagioclase and olivine, and
Part of a single augite crystal (yellow colour), exceeding
clots consisting of a few crystals of the same minerals are
30mm in size, is shown here enclosing plagioclase crystals,
set in a fine-grained groundmass, in places showing s ight
some of which form clots. The orange crystal at upper
alignment of plagioclase needles. Some plagioclases in
right is olivine and the crystal almost at extinction is
individual clots are aligned - this arrangement is common
another augite crystal.
in plagioclase glomerocrysts.
Gabbro from North Skye, Scotland; magnification x 7,
Hawaiite from plateau lavas of North Skye, Scotland;
magnification x 11, XPL.
Additional views of glomeroporphyritic texture may be
seen in 122, 127, 154 and 158.

Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures
Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures

ali olivine dolerite

50 Olivine gabbro containing poikilitic
p . - textured alk
. 1c
5 2 O
ite enclose numerous,
ral crystals of aug
rge anhed
Large plagioclases, enclosing or partially enclosing, rou nd Two la d lath-shaped plag ioclases. Note that
ly ra
olivines at their margins provide a framework to this random
any of t
f;; iocla ses are associated in
groups. The
to a chemical
ur due
rock, the interstices of which are occupied by large augites m
augite c1 ys
ta! has a variable colo
also enclosing round olivines and small stubby crystals of larger ).
e p. 61
zoning (se .

I e.fiom
e1t Shiant Isles still, Scotland; mag
Olivine gabbro fi"om Middle Border Group of the Skaer Olivine dol
gaard intrusion, East Greenland; magnification x 12, XPL. tion x JI. X

ture in olivine dolerit
51 Olivines enclosed by plagioclase oikocryst 53 Subop hitic tex
d in
plagioclase laths embedde
Subhedral, equant olivine crystals here are enclosed in a The photographs show 1ocla ses
whereas some of the plag
single large plagioclase crystal. several augite crystals;
rs pene trate be on
he augite
Feldspar peridotite from Rhum, Scotland; magnification are wholly embedded, othe e wh1c h
c mineral present is ohvm
crystaIs. The other mafi _
x2J, XPL.
a gree n c1 a y- I e mm eral and
is partially altered to

te by its colour m the PPL
Additional views of poikilitic texture may be found in distinguished from the augi
JJ I, 114 and 167. view.
sh source; magnifica
Olivine dolerite from unknown Briti
tion x 27, PPL and XPL.

Ophitic texture

This is a variant of poikilitic texture in which the randomly arranged chadacrysts are
longate and are wholly, or partly, enclosed by the oikocryst. The commonest
xcurrence is of bladed crystals of plagioclase surrounded by subequant augite
;rystals in dolerite (sometimes referred to as doleritic texture); however the texture
s not confined to dolerites, nor to plagioclase and augite as the participating
Some petrologists distinguish the arrangement in which the elongate chadacrysts
ire completely enclosed (poikilophitic texture) from that in which they are partially
nclosed and therefore penetrate the oikocrysts (subophitic texture). Poikilophitic
exture could also be used when oikocrysts surround elongate chadacrysts of one
nineral and equant chadacrysts of another.
Fine- and medium-grained rocks made up of many small oikocrysts have a patchy
Lppearance, sometimes described as ophimottled.

Mutual relations of crystals: inequigr
anular t
i' "" extur s
. ,, e

. .

Mutual relations of crystals: inequigramdar textures


54 Subophitic alkali olivine

dolerite ne basa lt
56 Ophimottled texture in olivi
In this view plagioclase laths are l
embedded . o . fifty augite crysta s are shown here en
rather than pyroxene. One olivine hvin
crystal is at extin . e A roximately
. clases and giving the rock a mottled
m the XPL photograph and
.ct ion lp g bladed plagio
c ostn
another shows orang arance.
. e IOter led a ppe
ference colour. The other mafic miner or speck
al in the p ictures
augite showing a purple interference is
colour. ba salt from Isle of Mull, Scotland; magnifi.cation
CJ_livine dolerite from Shiant Isles sill, Scotland' magn . x14, XPL.
lion x 26, PPL and XPL. ifica-

See 121, 126, 128 and 164 for additi

onal exan1Ples
" boph'lltc
texture; 121 1s particularly interesting b
here the pyroxene 1s
subophitical/y enclosed by plagi
. . oc/
and m 164 pyroxene 1s subophitica//y enclosed by


57 Feldspar-olivine-phyric ophimottled

Phenocrysts of plagioclase and olivine, some in clots, are

set in fine-grained ophimottled groundmass.

Olivine basalt from Skye, Scotland; magnifi.cation x 12,


55 Poikilophitic texture in olivin

e gabbro

For the texture shown here the term

poikilophitic is
preferable to ophitic because (a) the
large augite encloses
some equant olivines in addition
to plagioclases and
(b) many of the plagioclases are not Interstitial textures
markedly elong te.
O/ivine gabbro from Lower Zone Two varieties are recognized on the basis of the material occupying the angular
a of the Skaerga ard
. wn, East Green
mt1us spaces between feldspar laths:
land; magnifi.cation x JO, XPL.
1. Intersertal texture glass or hypocrystalline material wholly, or partly, occupies

the wedge-shaped interstices between plagioclase laths. The glass may be fresh or
have been altered to palagonite, chlorite, analcite or clay minerals, or it may have
devitrified. If a patch of glass is sufficiently large and continuous to enclose a
number of plagioclases, some petrologists would describe the texture as hyal
ophitic. (See also hyalopilitic texture, p. 41.)
2. lntergranular texture the spaces between plagioclase laths are occupied by one,

or more, grains of pyroxene (olivine and opaque minerals). Unlike ophitic

texture, adjacent interstices are not in optical continuity and hence are discrete
small crystals. The feldspars may be in diverse, subradial or subparallel arrange
ment (see also pilotaxitic and felty textures, p. 41).
As shown by some of the photographs illustrating these textures, a single thin
section may contain both types of interstitial texture in separate, but contiguous,
36 textural domains.
Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures
Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures

58 lntersertal (hyalophitic) texture in nular dolerite

60 lntergra
tholeiitic basalt
of augite and pigeonite occupy
1 equant crystals
Anh edra
Certain partsof this photograph show lath-shap es b etween plagio clase crysta1s m th'1s samp 1 e.

ed the spac .
plagioclases enclosed in pools of devitrified, deep-brown . fi near the lower margin of Palisades sill, Neir
glass. Other plagioclases are surrounded by augite in Dolerite 10111
. magnification x 60, PPL and XPL
Jersey, USA '

subophitic manner.

Oceanic tholeiite from Leg 34 of the Deep Sea Drilling

Project; magnification x 65, PPL.

59 lntersertal texture in alkali dolerite

The intersertal texture in this dolerite consists of plagio

clase crystals embedded in analcite (colourless in PPL
and isotropic in XPL). Other plagioclases are partially
enclosed by pyroxene in a subophitic manner. A crystal
ofolivine can be seen at the right-hand edge of the view in

Alkali dolerite from Howford Bridge sill, Ayrshire, Scot

land; magnification x 23, PPL and XPL.
See also 126 and 127.

61 lntergranular olivine gabbro

In this example ofintergranular texture the rock is coarse

grained and the plagioclases have a subparallel arrange
ment. Note that the interstitial augites are anhedral
against the euhedral plagioclases.

Olivine gabbro from Lower Zone b of the Skaergaard

intrusion, East Greenland; magnification x 15, XPL.

Mutual relations of crystals: inequigranular textures

ar and subophitic textures in

rtal , intergranul

62 Tholeiitic basalt with two types of (co nti nued ).

interstitial texture dolerite

In this photograph patches between some

. of the plag
c1 ases are occup1ed by brown glass (partl 10-

y devit rifiect
and between others by clots of small augite
. crystals Wtt h)
ou t any g 1 ass present, 1.e. domains of both

intersertal an
mtergranular texture are present. d

Tholeiitic basalt from Ubekendt Ejland, West

magnification x 27, PPL and XPL.

Oriented, aligned and directed textures

Several classes of this textural type exist: (a) trachytic texture; (b) trachytoid
63 lntersertal, intergranular and subophitic texture; (c) parallel-growth texture; (d) comb texture; and (e) orbicular texture.
textures in dolerite
Trachytic texture
All three of these textures co-exist in this rock. A subparallel arrangement of microcrystalline lath-shaped feldspars in the ground
Dole'.itefrom Whin sill, Northumberland, England; magni mass of a holocrystalline or hypocrystalline rock.
.ficatwn x 26, PPL and XPL. N.B. the te1m is not restricted in use to rocks of trachyte composition (e.g. see
groundmass of 47).
Some petrologists subdivide trachytic texture with microlite-sized feldspars into
pi/otaxitic texture and hyalopi/itic texture, depending on whether the material
between the feldspars is crystalline or glassy.' Strictly, however, the microlites in
these textures may be more or less aligned. (For a pilotaxitic texture in which the
microlites are essentially randomly arranged the term felty texture exists.)

Trachytoid texture

A subparallel arrangement of tabular, bladed or prismatic crystals which are visible

to the naked eye (Holmes, 1921). While the term is usually applied to crystals of
feldspar, Johannsen (1931) states that it may equally well be used for oriented
crystals of any other mineral.
The terms flow andftuxion texture are sometimes used as synonyms for trachytic
and trachytoid textures, however they should be avoided on account of their genetic

Mutual relations of
crystals: oriented, alig
ned and directed tex
Mutual relations of crystals: oriented, aligned and directed textures

64 Trachytic texture
in a trachyte
chytoid diorite
67 Tra
This rock illustrates trac
hytic texture with no glas
tween the small, aligned s be
edium-grained rock contains aligned columnar
mla es. The cloudy appearance to the plagioclases
plag!OC s
. alkali feldspars (i.e. pilo

ta xitic

vanety). Note that rath . .

er than there being a sing
resu Its from
. ? le uni very small mclus10ns of iron ore and mica.
versal alignment dire ction, there are several
domains in
the photograph, each havi
of feldspar alignment.
ng its own preferred dire
ction Dioritefrom Comrie, Scotland; magnification x 16, PPL.

Trachyte from unknown Czechosl

ovakian locality; magni
fication x 16, XPL.

65 Trachytic texture
in trachyte
68 Trachytoid gabbro
The somewhat stumpy grou
. ndmass alkali feldspars

roe display a subparal
lel alignment which is part
in this This trachytoid texture consists of platy plagioclases,
noticeable where they icularly here seen edge on, stacked upon one another. Note that
follow the outline of the
crysts. pheno when this rock is sectioned parallel to the plai:ie of the
flattening, the crystal alignment would not be evident.
Trachyte from unknown Germ
an locality; magnification
x 15, XPL. Gabbro from Lower Zone b of the Skaergaard intrusion,
East Greenland; magnification x 12, XPL.

66 Hyalopilitic textur
e in rhyolitic
pitchstone 69 Olivines in trachytoid arrangement in
olivine dolerite
The feldspar micro lites in
. this glassy rock have a pref
elongat10n dJrect10n from erred In this view, large columnar phenocrysts of olivi? e, some
lower left to upper right; .
the feldspar phenocrysts near of skeletal type, are aligned, and embedded m mter
and opaque crystals the
orienta granular-textured plagioclase and augite.
t10n of the microlites follo
ws the outline of these crys
Note the tendency for the tals.
microlites to be arranged Olivine dolerite from Isle of Skye, Scotland; magnification
bands. in
Pitchstone from lschia, Bay of
Naples; magnification x20,

2 ,
Mutual relations of crystals: oriented, aligned and directed textures
Mutual relations of crystals: oriented, aligned and directed textures

yers in dolerite dyke
com b la

Parallel-growth texture
A single elogate skeletal crystal which in thin section appears to consist of a clot of
crystals havmg the same elongation direction and the same optical orientation.
(For 1llustrat10ns see31 and32.) In rocks with trachytoid texture it is not uncommon
for neighbouring parallel-growth crystals to be aligned (see 31).

Comb texture (comb layering)

longate, possibly curved, branching crystals sharing the same direction of elonga
tion. The crystals typically form a band, layer, or fringe with the elongation direction
of the crystls mclmed at 60-90 to the plane of the layering. (Synonyms are Willow
Lake layenng and crescumu/ate layering, though the latter is a genetic te1m and,
hence, should be avoided.)

70 Pyroxen e
comb layer in a thin
lampro Phyre
(fourchite) dyke
Long bran ching .
augi. te crystals are aligned at right angles
to the boundar
and pyroxene-
h btween the comb-layered rock (below)

widens in t he
( J Yn rock (above). The V of the branching
irection of growth, which is away from the
dyke wall. S ee
also 35.)
Lamprophyre d k
y e from Fiskaenesset area, South-west
Greenland; 111a .
gnification x 8, XPL.

Orbicular texture (orbicular layering)

In connection with the group of texture
See p. 69 for definition and illustration .
orbic ules the concentric shells have elongate
being considered here, note that in some
of the orbicule.
crystals aligned radially about the centre
71 Comb la y ers .
in dolerite dyke
lntergrowth textures
Two types of c
photograph s: t e f
rnb-textured ayer are present in these
!_ In thin section the junction between two crystals may appear as a straight line, a
consist of elon irst and third bands from the right simple curve, or a complex curve; in the third case the crystals interdigitate or
a te branchmg ohvme (now largely
serpentinized ) an
fourth band s ar
plagioclase crystals; the second and
interlock, possibly so intimately that they appear1 to be embedded in one another.
These interpenetrative patterns are all examples of intergrowth textures. Usually
e PYroxemte . .
d ommated by complex,
elongate, branchin the crystals concerned are anhedral but one or both may be skeletal, dendritic or
g augite crystals with scarce plagioclase
crystals in bet We . radiate. Seven varieties are distinguished here: (a) consertal texture; (b) micro
en Th e margm . of th e dyke hes to the left.
(See also 34.) graphic texture; (c) granophyric texture; (d) myrmekitic texture; (e) intrafasciculate

Dolerite texture; (f) lamellar and blebby intergrowths; and (g) symplectite texture.
from NOilh-west
Skye, Scotland; magmification
8, PPL and X

Consenal texture
es interdigitations and hence appears
The boundary between two crystals involv
gs, 1909; Niggli , 1954).
be notched or serrated in section (Iddin

1 The appearance of an interdigitating boundary between two crystals. A and B. depends on the

extent of interpenetration and the direction in which the boundary is sectioned: some inter
sections may show the crystals meeting in a complex curve; others may show crystal A enclosed
in B; others may show the converse; and yet others may show each enclosing the other.

Mutual relations of crys
tals : inte rgrowth

Mutual relations of crystals: intergrowth


72 Consertal texture in
14 Graphic granite
This photograph of a quar
tz-rich portion of the
shows several quartz crystals rock
Photograph of a . polis ed hand specimen of graphic
with intergrown boundari . .
(See also 42.) es. t xtured granite m which the dark matenal 1s smoky

Granodiorite fi'om unknown sour

q artz and the light material is alkali feldspar.
ce; magnification x 43,
XPL Graphic granite fi'om unknown locality: magnification x 3.
. )'

73 Consertal intergro
wth texture in gabbro
75 Micrographic texture in aplite
This picture illustrates an extre
me example of intergrown
boundaries between crystals; Two of the crystals in this view show an intimate micro
the participating crystals
are all augi tes (purple, pale graphic intergrowth of quartz and alkali feldspar. In one
yellow, grey and oran ge).
(middle right of XPL photograph), the alkali feldspar
Gabbro from Lower Zone a of is at extinction, and in the other (middle left) the quartz
the Skaergaard intrusion,
East Greenland; magnification x is at extinction. (The PPL photograph is deliberately
25, XPL
defocussed to show the Becke line in the higher-r
mineral (quartz) when the objective lens is 'raised'.
Micro-granite from Worcester, Massachusetts, USA:
magnification x 60, PPL and XPL

Micrographic texture (or

graphic, if visible with the
naked eye)
rgular intergrowth of
two minerals pro
semitic or rumc wntmg. ducing the appearanc
The best-kn own e of cuneiform,
the quartz appeanng as . instance is of quartz
isolated wedges and alkali feldspar,
ntergrowth of quartz and and rods in the feldspar. (A
alkah feldspar is micrographic
'\graphic mtergrowth also known as microp
of pyroxene and egmatitic texture.)
neph eline is sh own in
lranophyric texture
lvariety of micrographic
intergrowth of qua
rudely radiate or 1s less rtz and alkali feldspar whi
regular than microg ch is either
raphic texture.

Mutual relations of crystals: intergrowth textures
Mutual relatio
ns 0f crystals: intergrowth textures

re (c ontinued)
yric textu
Grano Ph
76 Micrographic and granophyric texture .
8 n

The photographs show several units of intergrown

and alkali feldspar; most are of micrographic ty
qu tz

- _
some ave a radiate arrangement (granophyric t ture)
at then margms. In the Scottish Hebridean igneous prov
. . one were formerly known as
mce roek s I"ike this grano
'. _ _ _
phy1es m allus10n to theJr d1stmctive textures.

Micrgranite from Eastern Red Hills of Skye, Scotland,

magnificatwn x 20, PPL and XPL.

Myrmekitic texture
rowth is often
with vermicular quartz. The interg
Patches of plagioclase intergrown plagi oclase crystal,
to be found at the margin of a
wart-like in shape and is commonly be regarded as a
ar crystal. The texture could
where it penetrates an alkali feldsp
p. 53).
variety of symplectite texture (see

77 Granophyric texture 78 Myrmekitic texture in granite

ed by
Much of the lower part of this photograph is occupi
In this rock, radiate intergrowths of quartz and alkali
an intergrowth of quartz and plagioclase: this forms
feldspar are arranged about euhedral, equant plagioclase ies
embayments in the microcline crystal which occup
most of the upper part of the field of view.
Micrgranite from Skaergaard intrusion, East G reenland:
magnificatwn x 37, PPL and XPL. Granite from Rubislaw quarry, Aberdeen, Scotland;
magnification x 30, XPL.

Mutual relations of crystals: intergrowth textures Mutual relations of crystals: intergrowth textures

roperthi tic textures

80 IVlic

mples ofperthites are represented here.

Three exa
h tograph shows fairly broad sinuous lamellae
The fi st
of al b t
te r versing the tartan twinning of a microclin

pegmatite, Topsham, Maine, USA; magm
fic ation x 16,

photograph shows narrow albite lamellae

The .second
g a braided pattern in an orthoclase host (upper
en fiom granite' Ratagan, Scotland; magnificati
x34, XPL.

two large areas of the field

The third photograph shows .
view with different orientatio ns of crystals cons 1stmg
h of a potassmm- nc h fi e 1
d spar
of an intimate intergrowt
rntrafascicu/ate texture each case the darker grey
d a sodium-ri ch feldspar. In
-follow, columnar plagioclase crystals filled with pyroxene. lour represents the potassium-rich feldspar.
The pro-
f1 ns of the two materials are approximately equal so
t either is clearly the host - in this case the feldspar
intergrowth is known as a mesoperthlle.
79 lntrafasciculate texture in dolerite
Specimen of nepheline syenite from Langesund fjord,
This medium-grained rock has an intergrowth texture
in Norway; magnification x 32, XPL.
which the gaps in the columnar plagioclase crystals are
occupied by augite.

Dolerite from Garbh Bheinn intrusion, Isle of Skye, Scot

land; magnification x 72, XPL.

umellar and b/eb-like intergrowths

uallel lamellae, or trains ofblebs, of one mineral, and all of the same optical orienta
::m, are enclosed in a single 'host' crystal of another mineral. Well-known examples
volve lamellae or blebs of sodium-rich feldspar in a host of potassium-rich feldspar
'erthitic texture); the converse (antiperthitic texture); and lamellae or blebs of one
rroxene in a host of another (e.g. augite in orthopyroxene or vice versa, and pigeon
: in augite or vice versa). Other examples include: ilmenite lamellae in (ulvospinel
agnetite) solid-solution crystals; metallic iron rods, and blebs in lunar plagioclases;
agioclase lamellae in pyroxene; amphibole lamellae in pyroxene; and chrome
agnetite lamellae in olivine. Careful examination may reveal lamellae of more than
ie orientation and scale and sometimes even fine lamellae within coarse lamellae,
:. multiple generations of lamellae.
Lamellar and bleb-like intergrowths are often attributed to exsolution of the
nellae and blebs from the host crystal (i.e. solid-state reaction) and the genetic
rm exsolution texture is often therefore applied to them. However, laboratory
periments in which antiperthite formed from a melt as a result of co-crystallization
two feldspars, and others in which ilmenite lamellae formed in pyroxene during
-crystallization of the two phases from the melt, highlight the danger of uncritical
of the term exsolution texture.

Mutual relations of crystals: intergrowth textures
Mutual relations of crystals: intergrowth textures

81 Antiperthitic texture in tonalitic gneiss

The poorly aligned, bleb-like inclusions in the plagi


clases in this rock are potassium-rich feldspar of inte

mediate structural state (1.e. orthoclase). It is likely th 1
the texture formed in this rock during prolonged hig
grade reg10nal metamorphism rather than during crystal
lization of magma.

Tonalitic gneiss from Scourie, North-west Scotland; mag.

nificationx 20, XPL.

Symp/ectite texture
An intimate intergrowth of two minerals in which one mineral has a vermicular
(wormlike) habit.

82 Lamellar intergrowths of two pyroxenes 84 Symplectite of iron ore
in gabbro orthopyroxene

crystal of ortho
The host crystal to the lamellae is an orthopyroxene (close Iron ore (probably ilmenite) and a small
to extinction); it contains two kinds of lamellae - rela e are intimate ly intergro wn in a vermicul ar fashion
and ilmenite
tively broad and continuous ones of augite, and narrower in the spaces between plagioclase, augite
discontinuous ones of augite, inclined to the broad variety. crystals.
Gabbro from Bushve/d intrusion, South Africa; magnifica Olivine gabbro from Lower Zone b of the Skaerga
Greenla nd; magnific ation x 72, PPL.
tion x 9, XPL. intrusion, East

83 Bleb-like intergrowth of augite in 85 Fayalite-quartz symplectite

orthopyroxene in olivine gabbro
Between the opaque mineral (ilmenite) and the silicate
In this sample blebs of augite are embedded in an ortho minerals in this rock, there exists a complex boundary
pyroxene host, forming an 'emulsion-like' texture . Though consisting of a narrow rim of fayalite immediately adjacent
the blebs are irregular in shape they have a common to the opaque mineral, which in places abuts onto a
elongation direction and the same optical orientation. symplectite intergrowth of fayalite and quartz. The
fayal ite in the intergrowth and that which rims the ilmenite
Olivine gabbro from Lower Zone b of the Skaergaard have the same optical orientation.
intrusion, East Greenland; magnification x 27, XPL.
Ferrogabbro from Upper Zone b of Skaergaard intrusion,
East Greenland; magnification x 32, PPL and XPL.

Mutual relations of crystals: intergrowth
textures Mutual relations of crystals: radiate textures

Fayalite-quartz symplectite (continued)

spherulite in dolerite
g1oc1 ase

86 p1a
. approximately twenty elonate
eruhte comp rises
Th is sph c 1 a se, each having a different optical
of pla gw

an 'open' spherulite in the sense that

atwn. It 1s


uch s p ace between individual plag1oc1 ase crys-
er e is m
th d by coarse augite, columnar
spaces r occupie
tals; the
plagio cla
ses t:
no I lated to the spherulite
, and smaller

. from Garbh Bheinn intrusion, Skye, Scot land ;
Dolerite . .
atwn x 32 PPL and XPL

similar example.
See 126 for a

Radiate textures

Radiate textures are those in which

elongate crystals diverge from a comm
nucleus. They are most frequently found on
in fine-grained rocks, but not exclusively
for example, 34, 35, 36, 70 and 71 show ;
large branching pyroxene, plagi oclas and 87 Spherulite in rhyolite
olivin e crystals in fan-shaped radiate e
arrangements. A remarkably large num
terms exists to describe the vario us p ber of
atterns, including: fan, plume, spra The spherulite at the centre of this photograph consists of
spherical, sheaf-like, radiate, radial, y, bow-tie,
axiolitic, spherulitic and vario a dense mass of very fine intergrown needles of both
the last thre e (which are defined and litic. All except
illustrated here), are of self-eviden mean quartz and alkali feldspar radiating from a common
t ing.
nucleus. Above and below, the spherulite abuts onto
Spherulitic texture
others, whereas to left and right there is glass.
Spherulites are approximately spheroid
al bodies in a rock: they are com Rhyolite from H/inik, Hungary; magnifi.cation 27, XPL.
of an aggregate of fibrous crystals of one posed x
or more minerals radia ting from nucl
w ith glass or crystals in betw een. The a eus,
acicular crystals may be eithe singl
fibres or each may have branches along r e, simple
its length; any branches may or
share the same optical ori entations as may not
their parents. The most comm
of spherulitic texture is a radiate aggr on occurrence
egate of acicular alkali feldspars with
betw een them, though quartz or other glass
minerals may be present, resu
growth texture. Should the spherulite lting in an inter
have a hollo w centre it is know
spherulite, and if it comp rises a series n as a hollow
of concentric, partially hollow shell
lithophysa is used. s, the term
Axiolites differ from spherulites in
that radiating fibres extend from
linear nucleus (i.e. from a small acicular eithe r end of a
crystal) rather than a point. They coul
regarded as a variety of overgrowth textu d be
re (p. 58), as indeed could those sphe
lites which grow about visible crystals ru
rather than on submicroscop nucl
ic ei (e.g. 88).

Mutual relations of crys
tals: radia te textur es

Mutual relations of crystals: radiate textures

88 Compound spherulites
in rhyolite
89 Variolitic olivine dolerite
Both single and compound,
or clumped, spherul
surrounded by glass in this ites ar
. phot?graph. The sp The o11iv ne phenocrysts in this sample are set in a ground-
enclose m1crophenocrysts of herulite . . 1 ase
plag1oclase and b1ot rn a ss cOnsisting of many fans of d'1vergm g pIag1oc
colour variation in the sphe ite. The
augite crystals

rulites is caused by needies with m t he m

terst1ces. N ote how
in density of fibres. s all the fans diverge fr?m lower right to upper Ieft, m d I t

' '
Rhyolite from Glashutte, ing progressive solid1ficat10n m th1s d Irect 1n. N ote a s
Hungary; magnific
ation x 12, the branching character of some of the plag1oc1 ase fibres.

Olivine dolerite from Skye, Scotland; magnification x 27,


90 Radiate
intergrowth of plagioclase and
augite in dolerite

This unusual radiate texture

occupying the centre of the
view consists of two,
mutually perpendicular, columnar,
plagioclase crystal
s, the elongate gaps in which have a
radiate distribution;
these gaps are occupied by a single
augite crystal,
rather than by many crystals This kind of
radiate texture .
differs from a spherulite; it is more akin to
skeletal growth
(p. 20).
D olerite from
Jngia intrusion, West Greenland; magnifica
tion x 27, PPL
and XPL.
Variolitic texture

A fan-like arrangement of
diverge nt, often
plagioclase and the spa br. anching, fi
ce between is bres,. usually the fibres
a1 e

e or iron ore. This occup ied by gl

ass or granules of

textu re diffe rs pyroxe ne

fro m spher ul't
bodies are identifiable 1 1'c m that no d.1scre l
, in fac t, each r ian .

te spherica
conical bundle of acic as seen .
m thm sect'ion is . a s1
ular crystals .
i c e th10ugh a

ons of crystals : radiate textures
Mut ual relati
Mutual relations of crystals : overgrowth textures
Radiate intergro wth of plag
ioclase and augi' te .
(continued) in dole

Corona texture

A crystal of one mineral is surrounded by a rim, or 'mantle', of one or more crystals of

another mineral, e .g. olivine surrounded by orthopyroxene, or biotite surrounding
hornblende. Such relationships are often presumed to result from incomplete
reaction of the inner mineral with melt or fluid to produce the outer one and for this
reason the equivalent genetic terms reaction rim and reaction corona are frequently
used. The special term Rapakivi texture is used to describe an overgrowth by sodic
plagioclase on large, usually round, potassium-feldspar crystals, and kelyphitic
texture is used for a microcrystalline overgrowth of fibrous pyroxene or hornblende
on olivine or garnet.

92 Corona texture

In the centre of the photographs a twinned and zoned

augite crystal is mantled by green hornblende of non
uniform width.

Quartz diorite from Mull of Galloway, Scotland; magnifica

tion x 43, PPL and XPL.

pplies to textures i.n which a single crystal has

This tenn a . been overg1ow
. .
n eHher by
te rial of the same compos1t1on, or by material of th
::: ::J 1 a1 species
X erent solid
- solution composition, or by an unrelate

e r

types: (a)
s eleta l and en
d dn tic overgrowths; (b)
: : :
corona textur ; a ( s

91 o vergrowth textures
in rhyolitic

The faces of the phenocrysts

. of alkali feldspar and mag
net1t m this glassy rock have
acted as locations for nu
cleation of dendri ic overgrow
. ths of (?) alkali feldspar .
Dendntic crystallites are
also present in the glassy

Pitchstoneji-om Arran, Scotland; magn

ification x 31, PPL.

Mutual relations of crystals: overgrowth textures

Mutual relations of crystals: overgrowth textures

.. (continued)
kiv1 texture
93 Corona texture Rapa

Between olivine and plagiocla

se crystals in this
rock th
is a 0.02-0.06mm wide coro
one or two zones: (I) radia
na which consists of re
lly oriented , fibro us

e1t r
hornblende; or (2) colourles , brow
s pyroxene (see n
middle f
photograph) surrounded by
brown hornblende. Analysis of
radially orien ted,
the pyroxene sugg
1t 1s a subm1croscop1c mter growth of augite and
ests tha ;
pyroxene. ortho.

Olivine gabbro ji-om Thessaloniki,

North Greece;
fication x 100, PPL and XPL. magni

Crystal zaning

One or more concentric bands in a single crystal are picked out by lines of inclusions
(95) or by gradual or abrupt changes in solid-solution composition of the crystal.
As regards the latter type of zoning, a large number of patterns are possible, the
commoner ones being illustrated graphically and named below, using plagioclase as
an example.

Normal versus reverse zoning

These terms specify the general trend of solid-so
lution compos
ition from core to rim.
'Normal' indicates high-temperature component->
low-temperature component
(e.g. An-rich plagioclase-> Ab-rich plagioclase, see Fig.
C) and 'reverse' indicates
the opposite.

Continuous' versus discontinuous1 zoning

These terms indicate respectively a gradual or an abrupt
change in composition.
Figure C shows examples of continuous normal
zoning and Fig.D an example of
discontinuous normal zoning. Continuous and discontinuous
zoning may alternate

1 These terms are not the same as continuous reaction and discontinuous reaction of crystals
with melt.

94 Rapikivi texture
95 Zonal arrangement of melt inclusions in
The texture is of large, roun plagioclase
d potassic feldspars, so me of
which are mantled by sodi
c plagioclase rims, others have
no plagioclase rims. In the Several stages in the growth of this plagioclase crystal
first photograph, which is of a can
pohshed hand specimen be picked out by the bands of minute melt
, the plagioclase rims have a inclusions. (See
greenish colour contrasti also 45.)
ng with the pink potassic feld
spar. The second photogra Feldspar-phyric dolerite from isle of Skye, Scotland;
ph is of a thin section of the
same rock. magnification x 9, PPL.

Granite from Eastern Finland;

magnification x 2 (first
photo); x 3, XPL (second pho
Mutual rel
ations 0f crystals: overgrow
th textures
Mutual relations of crystals: overgrowth textures
Fig. C Thr
ee exam" nles 0f conti.nuou s
represente normal zoning
d 011 a ske
tch graph
96 zoned

plagioclase phenocryst in this photograph is

Th e c entral
disc ontinu
ously zoned havmg :
hom geneous core
by a more s? r1c nm; t e nm as contmuous
mantled . .
n of the extmct1on
c normal zoning resultmg m anat1o
on rotation of the microscop e stage. The crysta 1
: 0 tion
fs us partly discontinu ously and partly continuously

E zoned.
from Isle of Skye, Scotland; magnification x 43,

A n 0 L--
Core Rim
Fig. D D Distance from centre of crystal

s normal zoning

Multiple zoning
This term is used for crystals having repeated discontinuous zones. If the zones
show a rhythmic repetition of width, the pattern is known as oscilla/Ory zoning.
The overall compositional trend of the multiple zoning may be normal or reverse or
even (in which there is no general trend from core to rim). Individual zones may be of
uniform or variable composition, such that the zoning pattern on a composition
distance graph is square wave, step-like, saw-tooth, curved saw-tooth, or some
combination of these (see Figs. H-J). However, these are details which only very
careful and lengthy optical examination or electron-probe microanalysis would
The reader should appreciate that the sketches in figs. C-J are all idealized and
that in real crystals the oscillations will be less uniform; furthermore multiple or
Core Rim oscillatory zoning may only occupy part of a crystal, the remainder perhaps being
homogeneous or continuously zoned.
F ig E C
. ombined c . uou .
zoning ontm s and discontinuous normal An100
Fig. F Multiple, even zoning

- -

- -

Core Rim
An o
Core Rim
62 L-

Mutual relations
of crystals: overgrowth textures Mutual relations of crystals: overgrowth textures

0 Fig. G Oscillatory, even zoning y, normal zoning: curved saw-tooth

. J 0sci// ator

- - '---


Core An0 '--

Rim Core Rim

Fig. H Oscillatory, normal zoning: step-like

Convolute zoning
This is a variety of multiple zoning in which some of the zones are erratic and have
non-uniform thickness (see 97).

Fig. I Oscillatory, normal zoning: saw-tooth

97 Zoned plagioclases

This photograph illustrates several styles of zoning in the

two plagioclases comprising the glomerocryst. Combina
tions of discontinuous, oscillatory and convolute zoning
are present, together with zoning picked out by a band of

melt inclusions near the margins of both crystals.

Porphyritic andesite from Hakone volcano, Japan; mag

nification x 24, XPL.

Ri m


Mutual relati ons of crystals: overgrowth textures Mutual relations of crystals: overgrowth textures

98 Zoned olivines or-zoned augite

99 sect
Zoning is not confined to feldspar crystals. Here
, each f
The pic
ture shows a simple sector-zoned augite pheno
the three olivine phenocrysts in the cluster has the crystals
a horn containing elongate melt inclusions; 1 . .
geneous core surounded by a continuously norm
mantle, as md1cated by the vanation m inter
al-zonct IIY
par tia
enclosed by two of the sectors are o 1vmes.
. .
om Crawfordjohn, Scotland; magnificatwn x 40,
colours. Essex1te fi
Ankaramitefi'om Mauna Kea, Hawaii; magnification X4J

Sector (or hourglass) zoning

100 Sector-zoned pyroxenes
As seen in thin section, this ideally takes the form of four triangular segments
(sectors) with a common apex (Fig. K(b)). Opposite sectors are chemically identical,
whereas ad1 acent ones differ m comp osition (though Two sector-zoned titanaugite crystals are illustrated in
. . possibly only slightly) and
these photographs; that on the left is complicated .b y
hence in opt ical properties. Each sector may be homogeneous or show continuous or
forming a t one end a graphic intergrowth with nephelme
discontinuous or oscillatory, normal or reverse or even zoning. In three dimensions
and leucite; the other crystal has an intriguing figure-8-
the sectors are pyramid shaped (Fig. K(a)), and, depending on the orientation of the
shaped core, with a discontinuous, sector-zoned mantle.
crystal with respect to the plane of a thin section, a variety of patterns may be seen
in thin section (Fig. K(b)-(f )). If the sector boundaries are curved, the pattern can Melanocratic nepheline microsyenitefi'om Vogelsberg, West
resemble that of an .hourglass (Fig. K(g)). Sector zoning is a common feature of Germany; magnification x 7, PPL and XPL.
pyroxenes in alkah-nch basic and ultraba sic rocks. It has also been seen in plagio
clases in a few qmckly cooled basalts.

Fi g . K Schematic representations of sector zoning

Mutual relations of crystals: overgrowth textures

101 Oscillatory- and sector-zoned, incl vine and chrome-spinel banding (or
usion. 103 Oli
bearing pyroxene layering)

The augite phenocryst occupying most of this phot raph shows two bands, one rich in olivine,
ograph The photog
1s sector-zoned and each sector displays oscillatory
zoning with scarce disseminated chrome-spine! crystals, and the
Inclusions of nepheline, augite and magnetite rich in equant chrome-spmel crystals with scarce
are ar 0ther . .
ranged in trains parallel to the oscillatory zones. titial ohvme.
Tephrite from Monte Vulturi, Malfi, Italy; magnific on
ati Banded dunite-chromitite from Skye, Scotland; magnifica
27, XPL.
tion x Ji, PPL.

102 Oscillatory- and sector-zoned pyroxene 104 Anorthosite-chromitite banding (or

Unlike the pyroxenes in 99 and 100, this sector-z
pyroxene has some sectors bounded by more This hand-specimen photograph shows alternating bands
than one
face, e.g. the sector on the right is terminated of anorthosite (white) and chromitite (black). The
by two
faces, and that on the left by three faces. The crystal yellowish-brown crystals in the anorthosite are enstatite
closes plagioclase laths, an olivine (blue colour) and the black particles are single crystals and glomero
and a
pyroxene crystal (orange colour). crysts of chromite.

Essexite from Crawfordjohn, Scotland; magnification x 25 Banded anorthosite-chromitite from Critical Zone of the
' Bushveld intrusion, South Africa; magnification x 2.

Comb layering, orbicular texture, ocellar texture and

landed textures (banding) eutaxitic texture

Comb layering (see p. 44, 70 and 71) and orbicular texture (105) are particularly
extures of this type involve two, or more, narrow (up to a few centimetres), sub-
exotic kinds of banding. In the latter, 'orbs' consist of concentric shells of rhythmi
1arallel bands in a rock which are distinguishable by differences in texture, and/or
cally alternating mineral constitution. Within the shells the texture may either be
olour and/or mineral proportions. The term layering is also used by petrologists;
granular or elongate crystals may be radially arranged. 'Orbs' may reach a few
rhile 1t mcludes banded texture, it is also used for larger scale stratification. An
tens of centimetres in diameter. A further variety of banded texture, eutaxitic,
xample of banded texture due to textural differences is illustrated in 5, and 103
occurs in some tuffs and ignimbrites and consists of a regular alignment of flat
nd 104 show examples resulting from extreme differences in mineral proportions.
tened glassy fragments (Sb).

Mutual relations of crystals: cavity textures

Cavity textures
105 Orbicular monzodiorite
These are a collection of textures which feature either holes in the rock or likely
The first photograph shows the texture . former holes which are now partly or completely filled with crystals.
in a ha d

The arrangement of the concentric darke
lighter coloured, homogeneous nucle
r ban s
ut Vesicular texture
The second photograph shows the core
i is well d S/P iay d .
e Round, ovoid, or elongate irregular holes (vesicles) formed by expansion of gas, in
and a i w e inner
bands of one orb.1cule m . .
thm section The ban

ds ca b a magma.
seen to d h1er
,,. f rom one anothe in their cont
ents of bi0 . e
and alkali feldspar, and m their grain 1I te
size. Amygdaloidal texture
Monzodioritefrom the Island of Suuri Lintu Former vesicles are here occupied, or partially occupied, by late-stage magmatic
sac11 i, Ruoko
Ia/1t't, S. E. r
17zn /and; magnificatwn x 1 (first

- and/or post-magmatic minerals, such as carbonate, zeolites, quartz, chalcedony,
photo) X
and XPL (second photo). 3, analcite, chlorite, and/or, rarely, glass or fine groundmass. The filled holes are
known as amygdales or amygdules.

Oce//ar texture
Certain spherical or ellipsoidal leucocratic patches enclosed in a more mafic host
are known as ocelli (singular ocellus). Unlike amygdales, the minerals filling an
ocellus can normally all be found in the host rock; they may include any of: nephe
line, analcite, zeolites, calcite, leucite, potassium feldspar, sodium feldspar, quartz,
chlorite, biotite, hornblende and pyroxene, or even glass, and the minerals are
commonly distributed in a zonal arrangement (109a). Often, platy and acicular
crystals in the host bordering an ocellus are tangentially arranged (as in 109b) but
sometimes project into the ocellus. Ocelli are normally less than 5 mm in diameter
but may reach 2 cm. Their origin has been ascribed on the one hand to separation
of droplets of immiscible liquid from magma, and on the other hand to seepage of
residual liquid or fluid into vesicles.

Miarolitic texture

These are irregularly shaped cavities (druses) in plutonic and hypabyssal rocks into
which euhedral crystals of the rock project .

Lithophysa (or stone-ball)

This is the term given to a sphere consisting of concentric shells with hollow inter

106 Vesicular feldspar-phyric basalt

Large subspherical gas cavities are randomly distributed

in this volcanic rock. Note the two vesicles at the top left
which have coalesced.

Basalt from Mount Fuji, Japan; magnification x 7, PPL

and XPL.

M utual relations of crystals: cavity textures
Mutual relations of crvstals: cavitv textures

107 Vesicular trachyte

lar texture
109 ocel
Irregularly shaped, elongate vesicles are str eaked er photo graph shows three ocelli in an olivine
ou t Th e upp
Each ocellus 1s outlined by a more or less
through this trachyte; the columnar feldspars show
a d0 Jer ite sill.
weak alignment in the same direction. mp lete veneer of tiny magnetite crystals. At the base of

Trachyte from the Auvergne, France; magnification x

c two la rgest ocelli the groundmass outside the ocelli
12 ' t ross the magnetite veneer, except that olivine is
PPL. e ends ac
sen t in side the ocelli. The remainder of each ocellus
clear zeolite, turbid, very fine-grained zeolite
n magnetite. The left-hand ocellus also contains
a d scarce .
elong ate pyroxenes on the left side.

Non-porphyri!ic facies of an olivine dolerite sill, Igdlors

suit, Ubekend! Ejland, West Greenland; magn{fication x 12,

Th e secon d picture shows two ocelli, occupied by calcite,

alkali feldspar, chlorite and fine-grained patches of clay
(possibly altered glass). Laths of biotite are arranged tan
gentially about each ocellus.

Minette from Westmorland, England; magnification x 16,


108 Amygdaloidal basalt

The original vesicles in this volcanic rock are now filled

with an aggregate of small calcite crystals; calcite is also
present as pseudomorphs after olivine in the groundmass.
Pyroxene and glass in the rock are altered to clay minerals.

Basalt from Matlock, Derbyshire, England; magnification

x 11, PPL and XPL.

124 shows another amygdaloidal rock.

109a Miarolitic (or drusy) cavity in granite

The third photograph shows miarolitic (or drusy) cavity
in granite. The slightly angular cavity shown in this hand
specimen is occupied by crystals of alkali feldspar, quartz
and biotite, some up to seven times larger than crystals of
the sa me minerals in the rest of the granite.

Grani!e from Bei1111 an Dhubaich, Skye, Scotland; magni

fication x 1.5.

Part 2

Varieties of
igneous rocks

more common igneous rock types.
ted many of the
ned and illustra polarized light views are shown.
In this Part are defi light and crossed-
For most types plan ple of the rock type is illustra ted and in some we
than one exam cular feature of a rock. Jn
In a few cases more n to sho w a parti
one magnificatio
have used more than oth er examples of a specific
t 1 on tex tur es wh ere
is made to Par
addition, reference gabbro may be repres
ented by only two
ted .Thus, although
rock type are illu stra er pho tographs of gabbros appear
t 2, we have
noted wh ere oth
photographs in Par
in Part 1. but many are sufficiently alike
al in every respect
ign eou s roc ks are identic . us, an olivine gabbro
No two typical specimens Th
strated by a few
that they can be illu ilar to a lar ge num ber of olivine gabbros from
y be very sim
from one locality ma ore selected thin section
s which are fairly
ts of the wo rld.We have theref
different par ted.
e being illustra
typical of the rock typ not been easy and und
oubtedly we have
wh ich roc ks to include has
The choice of
ann sen 's esc riptive Petrography of rhe D_
's favourite..In
omitted somebody igneous rocks are listed in the
tha n 540 different names for
ks mo re indic ating the presence of a
Iineous Roc which hav e a prefix
those names
index, not counting have counted diorite as one name rather than
particu lar mineral or
textu re, thus we
ohan nsen. Hol mes listed about 340 different
by J
of diorite listed
but probably less tha 150
the eighteen varieties n of these are
No me ncl ature ofPetrology
igneous rocks in his
abo ut sixt y of these names as rocks which the
We have selected
now in common use. ergraduate course
in geology. Certain rock types
to see in an und
student may expe ct
exa mina tion of a thin section, much less from
re of the commoner igneous rocks based d by a cursor
Fig. L Nomenclatu cannot be distinguishe le, because mugeari
tes and hawaiites cannot
alka li contents. tog rap hs. Thus, for examp minatio n of the plagioclase
on their silica and one or two pho basa lts with out a deter
hed from alkali not been included.
are shown in small letters and readily be distinguis ks in thin section have
Names of fine grained rocks togr ap hs of these roc
in capital letters (modified compositio n, pho
given wha t we consider to be the definition o.f
those of coarse-grained rocks strated we have
, 1979) For each rock illu
from Cox, Bell and Pank hurst

..... - -- ......
/ ......
16 /
/ ..._

-... ,..

I""-. .....
I " 1 ,
phonolite s
14 /
I <fJ '- ) NEPHELINE SYENITES ...._ ....._
I "' '- ,
I '
I . ..._e .f I " '
-'..'<; / ' I '-.....
I " / I
"' trac hyt es "-
/ . ',
12 I eQ iJ I '
/ '
. ....
e " \
/ <::- <I.-<' / I ,
/ }'v -,; / '<::''- \._ ., <o )- _ - -<. ....._
,' / '-
E I o '-eR /
(!) <::- I / oreites -... ,
.. I '- '-
(J 11 o
"'.;.'<J benrn
ES SYENITES __......._
/ / \
10 Q (:.; / '- , \
,._f)" / <;/'<:<(}. :'
/ or SYENODI ..... I
.E ..........

,(_ /
- - - - - rhy olit es \
I ' A ,,....- 0 '-.'.
"' 0/ r, '
/ I

' '- '
'lj !<-op J
' I 0 / /
I ' 0 (:.
0?90 </j/ trachyandesites
</j??' ' /
6N I "' lirnugearites0:-rr;' o / or latites \
I I ..$' I o I
/ e' 0'
.._rr; i"-'--
I \ /
' cf? I
+ I

I Q-"'
I - - - - -"<.:o'Ov,/ ( ...- -1 \ /
e I r-
C1) ,...
I \
z I o I ,...
dacit es //
eQl I <::-
/ hawaiites I / I GRANODIORITES \ //
( <::- I ,,,rr;
.......... /
' ,,,,
\. I I I
L - - - - - - - ;f.- - --, -
I rr;c::- I ,,, /

, I / I en
I --0,g> <fJ I .0e I
'- I1 / ,,,
' I . I -:,..' "' I 23 I andesites ,,,
/ -:,._,o '-
basalts" I a.i I DIORITE S
I /
' '< I "' rr; c,'I>
4 '- f! ; '*' 'O v0 e ,...
1 ., I I

/ -:,._,(' //

(>-ro ;;;. -+-'I>'-"' I ;; o I ,
'v" ,o/..0">. ,, '

, . .. '<; -o rr;c,'I> c;;

' c, 'O
I I /
' ('$ " I .r:i I ,,, /
'- 60sa Its "
_______ L-
..... __

rce nt
Si02, weight pe
the name and this is followe Ultrabasic rocks
d by a brief desc
view of the photomicrograp ription of what is
hs. In addition visible in the field of
also defined, though not to defining the rock
necessarily illus illustrated, we have
subtypes and whose names trated, the names
of others which are
are still in use
granite). Agreement amon (e.g. g ranophyre as a
g petrologists on variety of micro
types is improving but the characteristics of
will always be ope individual rock
n to some difference 110
names used and defin ed s of opinion. The
here are as near
using the text of Holmes to consensus opinio
(!920), Johannsen n as we can sense it,
el al (l 978), the paper (1931), Hatch et al.
of Wilkinson (1968 (1972), and Nockolds
the definitions we have ref ), and our own
rained from stating experience. In most of
ranges for the amoun .
minerals, since agreeme nt ts of the essential
amongst petrolo
other hand, the pho tograp gists on this is generally poor. On the
hs give the read
mineral is abundant er an indication
or scarce in the rock of whether a particular
The photograph descript
ions are delibera
features which can be seen tely short because
in the photom they are only of those
description of a ro ck requires icrographs. The
complete petrographic
a careful exami
magnifications and the stude nation of the whole slide
nt is likely to at ditferent
one view at one mag nifi see much more than
cation. can be illustrated in
We have not set out a
system for the class
beyond the scope of this ification of igneous
book. The seq uen rocks because this is
broadly ultrabasic and basic ce in which the
rocks are arranged i s
rocks first, follo
rocks, leaving the alkali-rich wed by intermediate and
rocks to the end then acid
included a number of rare . Amol}g the alkali-rich rocks are
rock types, simply
photographs are visually attra because they are rare
and because the
ctive. In any tre
traditionally grouped togethe atment of petrography
r under the nam those rocks
e lamprophyres
cause of their divers e charac
ters. Although
we have defined
pose a problem be

This is the name u se for an ultramafic rock which consists
illustrated only th ree -111i11 almost ent!fely o f ol ivme, often accompanied by accessory
While we have avoided a
e11e, alniiite and f ourchite.
some of them, we have
chrome spinel.
formal classificatio
n scheme of rocks
helpful to have in the mind s
' eye a series of pig , it is nonetheless The granular-textured sample. we have illustrated con-
eon holes in which to locate
names with respect to one rock sists of only two m merals, ol'1vme a n d a chromium-rich

weight of names and refuses

another; otherwis
to accept more
e the brain tends
than a few of them.
to succumb to the spine!. The spine! ap a : opaque in the PPL view but,
modified from Cox, Bell and Figure L (p. 77), with a more mtense i g than can be used for photo
Pankhurst (1979),
roc k compositions may is a chemical diagra to have a deep brown colour. A
be. plotted. The oute m on which many graphy, it can be . seen

rmost line enclose
rocks and the boun ded area s most known volcanic banded structure is v1s1'ble in the large crystal showmg a

has been subdivid .

ed and the names of
coarse-grained varieties of roc
ks indicated. The fine-grained and blue interference colour to the nght and slightly up from
and the names in each area ex act positio ns of the
are open to debate dividing lines the centre of the photograph , and in two of the crystals
wo uld accept this clas but, in gen eral, most showing brown mterference colours to the right of the
sification. While a petrologists

great ma ny of the
here are shown on Fig. a
L, small proportion
apply to the chemical conditio are
rock types illustrated
not - e.g. the names on
the figure
crystal showing b le. Abov the blue crystal a crysta I
shows irregular extmctJon. hese features i ndicate that
n in which Na is
rocks with the m c l uh s
es common conditio

less than K. Other
n of K greater
names are used. for the olivines are stramed.
inst ead of nephelinite). than Na (e.g. leuc1t11e . . . .
Dun11e.from Moun t Dun New Zealand; magnifi . catwn x 16,
In the photograph descripti
ons a nu mber o PPL and XPL. Anot1e1 I .'dtmite is illustrated in 103.
definition here: f terms are used which
are worthy of
Essential minerals: those
which are necessar
need not be major constitu y to the naming
ents, e.g. a crinanite of the rock. They
essen tial analcite. contains only a small
percentage of
Accessory minerals: those
which are pres ent in
are disregarded in its definition, such small am
ounts in a rock that they
e.g. a small p
H owever, it may be ercentage of quartz in a
useful in the name to gabbro.
note the presence
mineral in a rock and this can of a particular accessory
be done by add
quartz gabbro. ing the mineral nam
e as a prefix, e.g.
Melanocralic, mesoc atic
r and leucocratic (syn
onymous with dark
terms to indicate the colo -, medium-, and
ur index of a rock
proportions of dark- to and hence the relative
light-coloured miner
als. The boun daries
dark mineral s res pectively.
posed predominantly of mafic
Mai f ls
j c and e ic may
be applied to rocks
are at 66 % and 33 %
which are com
minerals (olivine
opaque minerals) o r offelsic , pyroxenes , amphi
minerals(qu artz, fel boles, biotite,
They are thus less precise than dspar and feldsp
the colour in dex athoid), respectively
rocks with trivial amounts of, terms. Th e term
ultramafic is used for
or no, felsic min
term hypermelanic (90-1 erals. Th e rarely-used
00 % dark minerals) colour index
is more or less eq
Ultrabasic, basic, interm uivalent to ultramafic.
ediate and acid: che
less tha n 45 %, 45- 52 %. mical terms to
52--6 6 % and mor e designate rocks with
than 66 % by weight
Since a large Si02 co ntent of Si0 2 respectively.
is reflected in a larg
these terms correspond e amount of light-
approximately to the coloured minerals,
Micro as a prefix: most colour index ones
igneous rocks have .
varieties. The fine- and coarse-g fine-, m edium-,
and coarse-grained
rained varieties
basalt and gabbro). Medium always have different
-grained varieties names (e.g.
dolerite), or more often these may also have a
days, the name for distinct name (e.g.
prefixed by micro (e.g. the coarse-grained
microgranite, microsye rock is used and
nite or even micr

uttrabasic rocks


Peridotite 1 2

Kimber 1 1te

This tenn is used for coar . .

se-grained olivine-rich
rocks in Kimberhte is a pmph ynric P otassium-, water-, and carbon
which olivine is the dom . .
inant mineral but is less

d10x 1ct e-n c h pendotl te wh 1ch forms dykes sills and pipes.

90 % of the rock. Textbooks usua

. .

lly state that the acces

It consists of phenocr ysts of o]"ivm e, phlogopite ilmenite
sory minerals are all ferro
magnesians and that olivi
ne and pyrope garnet in a groundmass which
c mmonly
rich rocks containing plag
ioclase and pyroxene shou p hl ogop1 te , serpenti ne, calc i te, chlonte,
called picrites (or trocto!it ld be contains ohvme, .
e, if olivine and plagiocla e.
(41, 51). However, picrite is not se only), magnet1te, apatite and perovskit . . .
much used now, and All of the phenocrysts m the photographs are
modern usage allows for
plagioclase to be present small
in as are many of the smaller crystals; some of the
peridotite, as can be indic nd
ated by the terms plagiocla . e olivine crystal s have rou
crystals are pyroxene
se or .
.feldspathic peridotite as in ne
51. Peridotites containing both outlines and are surroun ed bY rims of microcrystalh

orthopyroxene and clinopyro
xene (113) are often called serpentine. fa the groundma s ar tches of calcite and
lherzo/ites. If clinopyroxene
is present and orthopyroxene a high density of small crys a s w i appear black in the
in a minor amount or absen
t, wehrlite is used, and harz photographs: these are ox1 e mmer als , including perovs
burgite for the converse.
kite (CaTi03) which is a common consft l ent of kimber
We have chosen to illustrate
this rock by two different lites. The large olivine at the t ? P leftc n ains neoblasts,
i.e. new, smaller crystals which are e]"ieved to have
The upper and middle phot
ographs show a poikilitic grown from highly strained parts of the big crystal.
textured peridotite in whic
h, in the lower left part of the
field, a number of round 11ca, magnification
Kimber/ite from Kimberley, Soulh Afi
crystals of olivine are embedde

in two clinopyroxene crys d x 7, PPL and XPL.

tals, and elsewhere the olivi
are enclosed by plagiocla nes
se crystals. In the centre of the
field, one elongated olivi
ne crystal is surrounded by
plagioclase feldspar. The
small opaque crystals are
chromite. The differences
in colour and relief between the
plagioclase and the pyroxene
are also obvious in the PPL
view: stray polarization
produces the pale greenish and
pink colours in this view
The lower photograph show
s an XPL view of a perido
tite in which numerous olivi
ne crystals are poikilitica lly
enclosed in a basic plag
ioclase feldspar. Only a small
proportion of pyroxene is
present in this rock.
Firs t and second phot
ographs: Peridotite from
Scotland; magnification Rhum,
x 12, PPL and
Third photograph: Peridoti
te .fi"om the Shiant Isles, cot
land; magnii S
f cation x 15, XPL.
Other peridotites are i//us
trated in 18 and 48.

Ultraba sic

Ultrabasic rocks

Garnet peridotite 114


A plutonic rock consisti

ng of more than 40 % );
WI'th two kinds of pyr o ol'IVIn
e An ultramafic rock consisting mail of pyroxene(s
oxenes and a small amo
unt of ossible accessory minerals include ohv111, sp111el, garnet,

The granular-textured spec
imen illustrated has only
hornblende, biotite, feldspar, and nephel111e. A rock con
garnet fau ly clearly one sisting of both orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene 1s known
shown 111 the field of view .
left of the lower edge ; it is at the as a websterite. If aeger111e-aug1te or nephehne 1s present
. About the centre of the
IS a crystal f stra111ed lower edge the term alkali pyroxenite is used'
phlogopitic mica. The . . .

field is occupied by rest of the The sample illustrated here 1s, stnctly speak111g, a
olivine (grey), orthopyroxe
brown), and chrome ne (pinkish websterite and shows round orthopyroxene crystals,
diopside (pale green e.g. mid
edge), the ohv1. dle of top recognized by their low first-order colours and a lamllar
11es and chrome diopside show
interference colours, ing moderate structure, poikilitically enclosed by a large zoned cl1110-
orthopyroxene showing
colours m the XPL low grey pyroxene crystal showing blue and. red 111terference col
The eins which pene ours. A few areas of low relief seen 111 the view 111 PPL .are
trate most of the crystals
serpent111e but arou are of basic plagioclase. At the bottom left is a hole in the shde.
nd the garnet crystals are thin
hich are
veins A slight difference in colours of the orthoyroxene crystals
occupied by a pale brow .
n mica: in the XPL can be seen in the PPL view and this 1s chiefly due to stray
view the interfere
nce colours of the micas
second order. are moderate polarization in the photographic equipment.

Gametperidot1't efi Websterite fi'om the Stillwater complex, Montana, USA;

10m K'1m b e1/ey, South Afnc
a; mag11ifica
t1on x 7, PPL and
. - magnification x 7, PPL and XPL.

Ultrabasic rocks

Ultrabasic rocks


Komatiite 1\/1eymech1te

This has been defined as an ultra b the Russians to a rock dis -

T his is the : ; :

mafic volcanic rock with 1

more than 18 % MgO.
While the rock lacks plagiocla covered m k i ic is a porphyritic ultramafic
is rich in magnesian se, it . .
olivine and clinopyroxene cryst xtrus1. ve roe cons1 s t mg mainly of olivine phenocrysts m
in devitrified glass als set .
, though the olivine is usually all r x 1 hi .
groun ,
pletely serpentiniz
been used to describe
but com
The term 'spinifex textures' has : :: ::i :: ; :i
T he il u t o f t pe ity and
y s erpentn -
parallel and radiate arrangeme
nts sh0ws p arts of two large phenocrysts of partJall
of elongate olivines ainly 0f browmsh
: :
and pyroxenes common in koma ized olivine in a ground a . r
These textures imply rapid rown mineral, o f
crystallization from an ultra pyroxene and some ro
mafic liquid. mica; some
which there are on y small fragments, is
The photomicrographs nized.
chlonte 1s present. Th e gro undmass is highly serpenti
. _ section (15cm by
were made from a large thin
6cm) in which pseudomorph after
s Siberia;
olivine crystals are Meymechite from the Meymecha river, Northern
up to !Ocm in lengths. In the PPL
view the long colou magnification x JO, PPL and XPL.
rless shapes were originally olivin
but are now comp es
letely replaced by serpentine. thin
secti on the olivine In
crystals appear to be acicular
in habit
but in fact are cross
sections of thinly tabular crystals
stack ed parallel to
one another. The brown material (PPL
view) was mainly
clinopyroxene and glass, thoug the
clinopyroxene has h
been replaced by chlorite and tremolite
or talc, and the glas
s replaced by chlorite.
Komatiite Fam Mun
ro Township, Ontario; magnification
x3, PPL and XPL.


Ultrabasic r


117 Basalts
In the most generalized definition these are fine-grained mafic rocks with essential
Hornblendite augite, labradorite-sodic bytownite and opaque minerals (titanomagnetite
ilmenite). They may be subdivided, if so wished, into tholeiitic basalts (tholeiites or
subalkaline basalts) and alkali olivine basalts (fig. L) on the basis of the presence or
absence of accessory olivine, quartz and low-Ca pyroxenes (pigeonite or ortho
pyroxene). Phenocrysts or microphenocrysts of all the essential and accessory
minerals (except quartz) may be present.
Tholeiitic basalts (118, 46, 58, 62) contain both augite and low-Ca pyroxene (pigeon
ite, hypersthene or both). Olivine is either absent or present only in small amounts
(less than 5 % by volume) as phenocrysts only, never in the groundmass. The ground
mass commonly contains varying amounts of interstitial brown glass, or devitrified
glass (intersertal texture); in more slowly cooled rocks the place of the glass is taken
by granophyric intergrowths of quartz and alkali feldspar. The remainder of the
groundmass usually has an intergranular or subophitic texture.
Alkali olivine basalts (119 and 11) contain no low-Ca pyroxene but plentiful olivine,
both as phenocrysts (if present) and in the groundmass. The augite is often some
what purplish-grey in colour due to high Ti content. Less than 10% of the feldspar
is of alkali type. The groundmass texture is usually intergranular or subophitic and
glass is very rare, though accessory interstitial hepheline or analcite may be present.
If alkali feldspar is present, it is in the interstices and as rims on plagioclase.
The terms olivine tholeiite and olivine basalt (22, 23, 44, 56, 57) have been used for
rocks which have certain characteristics of both tholeiites and alkali olivine basalts.
An ultramafic igneous rock consi They lack low-Ca pyroxene, olivine is essential, exceeds 5 % and may be present as
sting mainly of horn
blende. T e ame amphibolite is
? reserved for a metamorphic
both phenocrysts and in the groundmass. The augite is not Ti-rich and it is not as
rock cons1stmg essentially of an Ca-rich as that in alkali olivine basalts. Interstitial glass may be present: nepheline
amphibole and plagiocla
The first and second photograph
m which almost the whole of the

s are of a horn blend
and analcite are absent.
Chemical data greatly assist in making these distinctions: normative hypersthene
field of view is occupied
by amph1 ole crystals. Many of
the crystals are zoned, a
is the hallmark of a tholeiite (true tholeiite and olivine tholeiite) and absence of
few are twmned and a few are cut normative hypersthene characterizes alkali olivine basalt; normative olivine and
in the correct orientation
to show the two cleavages inters hypersthene characterize olivine tholeiite. Without such data the petrographer must
ecting at 120. Notice the
lack of preferred orientation rely on the mineralogical characteristics mentioned above, which of course may
of the crystals and their
mterlockmg relations. not be distinguishable if the rock is very fine grained.
Particularly olivine-rich varieties of both alkali olivine basalt and olivine tholeiite
Hornblendite fi'om Donegal, Irelan
d; magnification x 12 ' exist (up to 50% olivine) and these may be referred to as alkalic picrites and tholeiitic
PPL and XPL.
picrites (or tholeiitic picrite basalts) or generally picritic basalts (122, 26, 27, 31).
Another hornblendite is illustrated
in 39. Pyroxene-rich basalt is called ankaramite (98, 123).
The term trachybasalt1 is sometimes used for rocks slightly richer in alkalis and
silica than alkali olivine basalt and hence having a more sodic plagioclase and more
alkali feldspar (10-40% of total feldspar) than alkali olivine basalt. Strictly, the
term should be used for those rocks which on an alkali-silica plot (fig. L) lie between
alkali olivine basalt and trachyte, namely hawaiite (andesine, anorthoclase, olivine,
47), mugearite (same but oligoclase for andesine) and ben
augite and biotite, see
moreite (same but anorthoclase for oligoclase) and hence show features gradational
between trachyte and basalt. Syenogabbro is the equivalent coarse-grained name.
A very uncommon group of basalts are both alkali rich and have K gteater than
Na, in contrast to common basalts. These contain essential K-feldspar in the
groundmass in addition to augite, plagioclase (labradorite) and opaques. Olivine
and biotite are common accessories. The terms absarokite and shoshonite are used
for these, the former being more mafic than the latter.
Lunar basalts, two of which are illustrated here (120, 121), are classified differently
but being poor in sodium and potassium are more akin to terrestrial tholeiites than
to alkali olivine basalts.

1 Consensus on the meaning of this term is poor- it was originally used/or what is now termed a

basanite (157) and some petrologists have used it/or basalts in which the K content exceeds that
of Na.

Basic rocks

118 Basic rocks

Basa f
t 119
var. T
..tic b
vine basalt
Alkali oli

The first seco

is some wahnatd co nd P h otographs
pyroxenes sub o arse. .r m. gram sizearethaofn aisth oleiaite whic. h 'Jlhe photographs show a rock cons1stmg
of brownish
brown int r h1tically enclose lath f l. Clino augite crystals subophitically enclosing
clear laths of
consist ofe pstil tgi . loclregions are of m chs fioneplagram. c lase.
u The feldspar. One microphenocryst of plagioclase
feldspar is
and devitrifie 1gla ase, clinopyroxene , o1 aque sm1zi_e and

at the top edge of the field of view. Two

clearly visible
visible. ss. A few skeletal ox1 r ne al r
microphenocrysts of olivine are easily identified by
The third Photogr e c ys tals are bright interference colours - one blue crystal adjacent
tholeiite. Th ap h shows an XPL the feldspar microphenocryst at the top edge of the photo
ference coloeursfewa;eou nded crystals showvieingw t ohv. me
graph and one pink crystal to the right of the centre of the
groundmas crophenocrysts " g t mte r- field. Smaller crystals of olivine can be identified by com
glass s of cl"mopyroxene, pIag1.oclaseofandol ivinme
ma paring the two photographs - in the PPL view the olivine
. . terstitial r a
c yst ls have much paler colour than the clinopyroxen
F//"s/ and seco
Drilling Pr d photographs: Tho/ei
which in this rock are quite strongly coloured.
o ec o ite fr
m agnificatio x 1 ; leg 34; Nacza Plat:';; ej: S
ea ff Alkali olivine basalt from Hawaii; magnification x 15, PPL
ac1 ifi c
Tl11rd photogr : .L. and XPL. and XPL.

a h
USA , magn 'P Oltvme tho leute from Col
ific ation x 20

umbia River
' XPL. '

Basic rocks

Basic rocks

Lunar low-Ti basalt
h-Ti basalt
LLinar hig

The photographs show phenocrysts of olivine and pyrox The thin section of this rock shows reddish-brown pyrox-
ene set in a matrix of plagioclase and, pyroxene . The p lagioclase and ilmenite. The completely unaltered
pyroxenes can be distinguished from the olivines by the ::te of the pyroxene and plagioclase is probably the first

fact t at they have a reddish-brown colour, the intensity
characteristic which strikes the observer' Zomng in the
of which increases towards the rims of the crystals: the pyroxene is distinct in some crystals. Notice the unusual
olivines are nearly colourless in PPL and within them texture in which plagioclase laths suboph1tJcally enclose
are inclusions of glass and also opaque minerals, mainly pyroxene, contrary to normal suboph1tJc texture. cces

chromite and an Fe-Ni alloy. There is rather a small sory cristobalite is also present. It can best be seen in the
proportion of plagioclase in the view shown here; it top right-hand corner of the view in PP, where its ow

forms elongated crystals intergrown in variolitic fashion refractive index means that 1t stands out in rehef against
with pyroxene. The opaque mineral in the groundmass is the calcic plagioclase - its low interference colours are
mainly ilmenite. seen in the view under crossed polars.
Low-titanium porphyritic basalt obtained by the Apollo 12 Coarse-grained high-titanium basalt obtained by the Apollo
mission fi'om the Riphaeus Mountains, south of Copernicus 17 mission from the Taurus-Littrow Valley, Taurus Mo n
(NASA sample number 12002; 399); magnificationx28. .
tains. (NASA sample number 70017, 216); magnificatwn
PPL and XPL. x 25, PPL and XPL.

Basic rocks

Basic rocks

Basalt Basalt
var. Picritic basalt
var. Ankaramite

This sample has abundant phenocrysts and glomero The specimen illustrated here has zoned phenocrysts and
cryst ?f subhedral and euhedral olivine in a groundmass microphenocrysts which are mainly of pyroxene, although
of ol1vme, pyroxene and small proportions of plagioclase a few olivine crystals can be seen. The olivine crystals
and iron ore. occur mostly as microphenocrysts and they are slightly
Picritic basalt from Ubekendt Island, paler in colour in the PPL photograph than the pyroxenes.
W. Greenland;
magnification x 8, PPL and XPL. We can identify two of these olivines in the field of view -
See also 26, 27 and 31. one shows a blue interference colour and is just to the
right of centre at the top edge of the photograph, and
another is at the centre of the bottom edge of the photo
graph and shows a pale yellow interference colour. The
groundmass contains minute laths of plagioclase, too
small to be visible at this magnification, embedded in
cryptocrystalline material.

Ankaramite from lvohitra, Madagascar; magnification

x 15, PPL and XPL.
Basic rocks
Basic rocks

Spilite o

A asic rock, commonly am daI01da

. .
. l, m which the
A coarse-grained, dark
- to medium-coloured rock
ase ofla brad
orit e,
ongmal minerals have been auected by some ite and a plag iocl
. type of
.. sisting essentially of aug equ ivalent of basalt
aI terat10n so that the 11
"eldspars are of alb't com posi tion , i.e. the
' I e compos1lion or more calcic, are
and the pyroxenes have been repIaced by other erals which may be present
. mm erals. and dolerite. Other min qua rtz. Gabbros of
Although it has been suggested many times pige onit e, oliv ine or
that this name orthopyroxene,
should be dropped on th g show lamellar textures in the
s that spilites are meta- tholeiitic affinity commonly
morphosed basalts it is st ll i pyroxenes.

The sample illustrated shows a amy?dalo1da
l rock in Gabbros containing feldspat
hoids (including analcite)
which the amygdales are filled wit h calcite, white m both apy roxe ne have the group name alkali
the XPL and PPL views and chi onte green ber of names are used for
gabbros or syenogabbros. A num

. , m the PPL

contains abundant

view and showing anoma Ious blues and purples in the ros: if the gabb ro
these alkali gabb
XPL view. In the round;nass of the rock tesch enite (126) is used; if
analcite and little nepheline
feldspar of albite c mp 0 se m
. are laths of
dar patches which nepheline amo unts to mor e than 10 % ther alite is used, or if
thera lite; if nephel
are mainly of finely an olivi ne
s a ize ch 1onte, calcite and olivine is present it is termed
haematite. and betw een 10 % and 40 % of the feldspar
ine exceeds 10 %
(127) is used.
Spilite from Chiple uarry, Devon, England; magnifica- is of alkali type, the name essexite
ular olivine gabbro. A
tionx43, PPLand faL. The rock illustrate d is a
are loca ted at the centre of
group of three olivine crys
rds the top and anot her crys tal is at the right
the field towa
is occupied by augite
edge of the field. The rest of the field
ion is slightly too thick
and a basic plagioclase - the sect
se crys tals show a very pale
since some of the plagiocla
feren ce colo ur. The augi te shows slight zoning
yellow inter
ellar text ure is also visible; this is
in some crystals and a lam
of orthopyroxene and
probably due to exsolution. Absence
e this rock the coarse-grained
presence of olivine mak
equivalent of olivine tholeiite.
a; magnification x 11,
Olivine gabbro from New Caledoni
PPL and XPL.
16, 17, 40, 49, 50, 61,
Other gabbros are illustrated in 15,
68, 93.

Basic rocks Basic rocks


Teschenite Essexite

This is the name used for an alkali gabbro or dolerite This name is used for a medium- or coarse-grained rock
which consists essentially of a plagioclase feldspar of consisting essentially of labradorite or a more calcic
labradorite or more calcic composition, a clinopyroxene feldspar, clinopyroxene and olivine with small and vari
which is commonly a purplish-brown colour, and analcite. able minor amounts of alkali feldspar, and a feldspatho1d
If olivine is present, olivine teschenite is used. The term which is nepheline with or without analcite (see 125).
crinanite is sometimes used to denote a medium-grained The upper photograph shows an XPL view of a rock
olivine-bearing rock of this type which contains only consisting of large zoned clinopyroxene phenocrysts,
trivial, but essential analcite. small olivine crystals, laths of plagioclase, iron ore and
The sample we have illustrated contains olivine, analcite. An enlarged view of the central area of this
purplish clinopyroxene, plagioclase and analcite. Olivines, photograph is produced as the middle and lower photo
ranging in size from 0.2-2mm, are scattered throughout graphs. In the PPL view, the brown colour of the clino
the rock and may be recognized by their grey colour in pyroxene crystals serves to distinguish them from the
PPL. The subophitic clinopyroxene shows the colour olivines - there is one olivine crystal fairly close to the right
typical of titaniferous pyroxenes and zoning can be edge of the photograph and one just to the right of the
clearly seen in the large crystal near the top of the field centre of the field, partly surrounded by biotite and partly
just to the left of centre. by iron ore. Much of the large clear area in the centre of the
In the XPL view, the analyzer has been rotated through PPL view is analcite but within this area there are alkali
a few degrees so that the analcite can be distinguished feldspar and nepheline crystals whose relief is such that
from the opaque ores present in the rock - instead of they do not stand out against the analcite as clearly as does
being completely black the analcite has a slightly brownish the calcic plagioclase. The small hexagonal and needle
colour (e.g. left of centre); the triangular crystal of iron shaped crystals of high relief are of apatite which is widely
oxide near the top centre of the field is partially surrounded distributed in this rock. One useful observation is that
by analcite. This rock also contains some nepheline but it alkali feldspar commonly rims plagioclase crystals, as can
cannot be easily seen in this photograph. Note the un be seen in the long plagioclase crystal lying sub-parallel to
usual radiate arrangement of plagioclases at lower the right edge of the enlarged XPL and PPL photographs;
centre. at the lower extremity of this crystal there is a rim of alkali
Teschenitefrom Dippin sill, Arran, Scotland; magnification
x5, PPL and XPL. Essexite from Crawfordjohn, Scotland; magnification x 7
(upper), XPL, x 26 (middle and lower), PPL and XPL.

Basic rocks Basic rocks


Dolerite No rite

rock consisting
used for a coarse-grained
This is the name used for medium-grained basic rocks This is the name
. . . gioclase and ort opy rox ene.
co.ns1stmg essentially of labradorite, augite and ore mainly of a calcic pla
ted sho ws plag 10clase, orthopyrox
mmerals, i.e. equivalent of basalt and gabbro. In North The sample illu stra
opyroxene in a subhe
r I granular
Amenca the term diabase is used in preference to dolerite ene and some clin d1st mgmsh the
it is difficult to
to denot the same rock. Like basalts and gabbros, there texture. In the PPL view nce of mter
. we can dete ct the pres
are tholeutic and alkalic varieties which can be identified two pyroxenes but ms pyr o_xene.
largest a:eas of bro"."
from the presence or absence of low-Ca pyroxenes growths in the two ello w mter
nepheline, analcite, quartz and the absence or presenc In the XPL view the
areas with a bro
orthopyroxene with
clin opy rox ene
and amount of olivine. Coarse-grained names are often ference colour are of urs. Smaller
er inte rfer enc e colo
prefixed by micro- to name alkalic varieties (e.g. micro lamellae showing high e colours are
and green interferenc
teschenite). crystals showing blue oyroxene.
e hav e lam ella e of orth
The photographs show PPL and XPL views of a sub of clinopyroxene and thes ur is located
a blue interferenc e colo
ophitic tholeiitic dolerite-this is confirmed by the presence One such area showing of the field.
ve the bot tom edg e
of both orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene. A small amount about the centre just abo
of olivine is present in this rock and it has been partly dt com plex, South Africa; mag
Norite from Bushvel
replaced by serpentine - this can best be seen in the PPL
tion x 12, PPL and XPL.
view where the olive-green patches are of serpentine after
olivine. Most of the pyroxene at the lower left of the field
of view is orthopyroxene, it has a lamellar texture but this
cannot be seen at this magnification. The crystals showing
red and blue interference colours to the right of the field
of view are of clinopyroxene. The ophitic texture is fairly
typical of this type of rock.

Dolerite from Palisades sill, New York, USA; magnifica-

tion x 21, PPL and XPL.
Additional dolerites are illustrated in 52, 53, 59, 60, 63, 89
sic rocks Intermediate rocks




An anorthosite is a coarse-grained rock cons . en to a volcanic rock with
isting This is the name giv
of more than 90 % plagioclase, usually labrador . groun d mas s and one or more ferro-
ite or andesrne in the
bytownite. There are a variety of different types of
a . e on! pyroxene(s) or h orn-
:; :; I
. ,
thosite depending on the type of occurrence and the r pe s commonly porphyritic
com blende - i0 d
sts may be complexly zoned an

position of the plagioclase; many anorthosites, altho phen ocry

ugh and the feld spar
perhaps originally igenous, are now metamorphic 10n o f the cores of the crystals
rocks. em bayed with the composit .
d roe k
The specimen illustrated in the upper and The equivalent coarse-grame
middle as calcic as bytowm. te.
photographs is of an anorthosite layer from an
s a PPL view of a porphyri
is diorite. tic
complex. Most of the field of view is occupied by bytown
The first photograph show n
ite; towards the left edge of the field of view some pyroxene .m wh"ich the phenocrysts are of plagioclase' a brow
rock of yr
can be recognized among the plagioclase crystals. The ered micr ophe nocr ysts
amph1bole a d a few scatt . ly
roundmass consisting mam
mineral which appears opaque is a very dark brown
chrome spine!. There is a strong preferred orientation
oxene in a m1crocrystall t h plag ioclase phe nocr ysts are
in of plag10clase. Some
the tabular plagioclase crystals in this rock giving it a
laminated texture. The thin section is slightly thick as is
quite different from ot e ; . t the right edge of the field, a
ains numerous inclusions and
large square phenocryst
indicated by the pale yellow tinge in the plagioclase
interference colours.
has a dark rim of cl . i \
s. n
otographs show an andesite
The second an t ir
The lower photograph is of a lunar anorthosite. It
conta ining clear phen oci ysP f la ioclase and brownish

shows a strained and broken (i.e. cataclastic) texture

ts of pyrox ene. h e has been selected to
phen ocrys
which probably resulted from meteorite impact. The ene an d ite in the group of crystals
include orthopyrox
feldspar composition in this sample is An97 and is much
to the right of the centre o e field The lower crystal,

lighter in colour in the PPL view,

. .
more calcium-rich than most terrestrial anorthosites. .1 s ho roxene the
Only tiny crystals of pyroxene exist among the small
dar k er cryst'a I is augite The groun
d m
co ains pl gio-
ed to determme

feldspar fragments. The large feldspar crystal occupyin ene but t h is

.. is too fine grain
g clase and pyrox

the lower left part of the field of view shows patchy extinc
the nature of the pyroxene.
tion as does the crystal just above the centre of the field.
ia; magnification
This material is one of the oldest known rocks having an First photograph: An d esite .firom Boliv
age between 4,000 and 4,500 million years. x 17, PPL.
I d Pholographs. Two-pyrox

. e fiom
ene ande5it
r; n x 9 ' PPL and XPL.
Second and 1111

First and second photographs: Anorthosite from Rhum,

Hakone volcano, Japan: magm,,callo
Scotland; magnification x 9, PPL and XPL.
s are shown in 19 and 97.
Third photograph: Anorthosite from Cayley Formation, Additional andesire photograph
Descartes region of the Lunar Highlands; sample brought
back by Apollo 16 mission (NASA sample number 60025,
255); magnification x 12, XPL.

Another anorthosite is illustrated in 104.

Intermediate rocks
Intermediate rocks

Boninite oiorite

This is the name given to a volcanic rock ing of

_ the composition A coarse-grained, medium-coloured rock consist_
of which is that of a high magnesia c mmerals
andesite. It is pre andesine plagioclase and one or more of the mafi
dommantly glassy but contains micro biotite. A
phenocrysts of ortho clino- and ortho-pyroxene, hornblende and _ _ .
pyroxene and sometimes olivine and clinop Ohvme is a
yroxene also little quartz and K-feldspar may be present.
The specimen illustrated shows orthopyroxen
e crystal minor constituent of some diorites. This is the coarse

with rst-order grey mterference colour
s, clinopyroxenes grained equivalent of andesite. If quartz is abundant (up to
showmg first- and second-order colours
and somewhat 20 %) the name quartz diorite is used_. . .
larger skeletal crystals of olivine. Alteration
of the olivines The photographs show a field of view m which there are
to serpentine is seen in brownish patches
in the thin sec three mafic minerals: biotite, pale to dark brown colours
tion. No plagioclase is visible in any of these
photographs. in the view under PPL; orthopyroxene; and clino
The third photograph is an enlargement of
the central pyroxene. Some of the clinopyroxene crystals can be
area of the other photographs. This shows
a large ortho easily recognized in the XPL view because they show
pyroxene crystal with two clinopyroxene crystals .
parallel second-order interference colours of blue and purple The
to the length of the orthopyroxene. At the order colo urs. The
left extremity orthopyroxenes show only first
of this orthopyroxene is another one (at extincti _
on) plagioclase feldspar shows a very slight cloudmg which
mantled on three sides by clinopyroxene.
can be detected in the PPL view. A rock from the same
intrusion showing pronounced clouding of the feldspar is
Boninite from Chichi Jima, Bonin Islands, Japan; magnifi
shown in Part I in 67. A small amount of quartz is present
cation x 23 (first and second photos), PPL and XPL, x 72
in this rock and is recognized by absence of alteration.
(third photo), XPL.
Diorite from Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland; magnification
x 12. PPL and XPL.

Another diorite is shown in 92.

Int er
Intermediate rocks


Tona lite

A coarse-grained rock consisting

of a plagioclase (appt.ox. A coarse-grained rock cons1stmg of essential olivine,
An30), hornblende, or biotite
or both' an d accesso augite, biotite, plagioclase (more calcic than An50) and
quartz. The name is synon ymo . ry
. us with quartz diorite orthoclase. This is a coarse-grained equivalent of trachy
(In North Amenca tonahte impli .
es a quait z content of basalt (i e. a syenogabbro), it may be regarded as an olivine
more than 20 %o' but m . .
smaller quartz contents are bearing monzonite.

T e ineralogy of the rock illust
In the porphyritic specimen illustrated here, the ferro

p I g1 c ase and strained quart
rated is simple . zoned
z are readily identified '
magnesian minerals olivine, augite and 'biotite are fairly
easily identified in the view in PPL. Most of the biotite
an he only ferromagnesian miner
p al present is bio .
cores of the plagioclase crystals conta
in a dense :
crystals show a fox-brown absorption colour. The crystals
covered by networks of black cracks are olivines, and the
er fine mica and clay mmerals,
generally ascribed to augite crystals can be identified by their relief against the
alteration, and the biotite crystals
have inclusions many colourless feldspar: there are only three augite crystals
of whtch produce pleochrotc haloes. '
visible and two of these show yellow interference colours
Tona/ite.fiom Theix, Puy de Do and the third, at the top right of the field of view, shows a
me, F:rnnce ,. magnifi
. cat i.on
x12, PPL andXPL. blue interference colour. Some pale green chlorite can be
seen near the left edge of the photographs.
The mineral showing grey, black and white interference
colours is largely labradorite. It is difficult to show that
orthoclase is present in this field of view but two untwinned
crystals with uniform grey interference colours, just below
the olivine crystal showing a purple interference colour at
the right edge of the field, are orthoclase.

Kentallenite from Kentallen, Scotland; magnification x 12,

Intermediate rocks

Intermediate rocks

This is the name used for

a coarse-grained rock This is a volcanic rock which usually contains pheno
the amount of alkali feldspar in wh1 h
plag10cl:se feldspar. The
is about the same as
amount of quartz present
that f crysts of plagioclase, less calcic than andesine, quartz. and
be 0-5 %, and mafic mm . should subordinate ferromagnesian mmeral(s) m a fine-gramed
erals 10-25 %. The groun dmass: a small proportion of alkali feldspar may
mtermed1ate m characte rock is
r between syenite and be present. The coarse-grained equivalent is granodiorite.
. d.1onte.
Its ne-gram ed eqmvalent is calle

d latite or trachyandesit The specimen illustrated shows strongly-zoned pheno

The rock illustrated cons.ists e.
. mainly of clinopyroxene crysts of plagioclase, and quartz and microphenocrysts of
alkah feldspar and plagiocla
se feldspar. In the PPL vie
the clmopyro ene can be a brownish-green amphibole in a fine-grained groundmass
readily identified, as can composed of the sarhe minerals and biotite . .The pheno
aounts of b1ottte and opaq
. ue oxides. In this rock the crysts of quartz can be distinguished from those of plagio
d1smct10n between plag
ioclase and alkali feldspar clase by a number of criteria: the interference colour
easily made because the alka is
. li feldspar shows no mult shown by the quartz crystals is just slightly higher than
twmnmg whereas almost iple
all the plagioclase crystals that of the feldspar; the quartz crystals show no zoning
in the
field of view are multiple
twinned. Very fine intergrow or twinning; and they have round outlines, whereas the
are present m the alkali felds ths
par but they cannot easily plagioclase crystals show the outlines of crystal faces only
seen at the magnification be
of these photographs. A very slightly rounded at the corners. Some of the plagioclase
small amount of quartz is pres
ent in this rock. phenocrysts have sieve texture (top left). The feldspars
Monzonite Fam Mount Drom show a complete gradation in size of crystals from pheno
edary Complex, New Sout
Wales, Australia; magnifica crysts through microphenocrysts to groundmass crystals
tion x JJ, PPL and XPL.
(seriate texture). Some of the variation in size of the
crystals is due to the fact that the section does not cut
through the centres of all crystals.

Dacite Fam unknown locality in Argentina; magnification

x 8, PPL and XPL.

Another dacite is illustrated in 3.


Intermediate rocks
Intermediate rocks



A granodiorite is a medium- to
gramed roe k contammg essentia

light-colou1ed coarse- A trachyte is a fine-grained volanic rock consisting
mainly of alkali feldspar or sometimes of two feldspars

l quartz, plagioclase
feldspar (o goclase), and alkali felds
par, in amounts sodic plagioclase and a potassic feldspar. A small
between I 0 % and 35 % of the tota
amunts of mafic mmerals, com
l feldspar, and lesser mount of ferromagnesian minerals is usuall present.
b1ot1te, r both . Whereas granodio
monly horn blende or Quartz or nepheline may be present as accessones but a1e
quartz, d1onte has only accessory quar
rites have 20-30%
confined to the groundmass. The coarse-gramed eqm-
tz, if any. valent is syenite. . . . . .
The spec1men !llustrated is a gran
. ular biotite-horn The sample illustrated 1s a porphynt1c rock m which t e
blende granod10nte. The h rnblend
shades of brown and green m PPL ? e is pleochroic in predominantly euhedral phenocrysts are of both sod1c
green crystals near the centre of the
view (e. g. the three plagioclase and sanidine. In the f the field th.ere
hornblende crystals show twinning
field). Two of these is a group of plagioclase crystls wh1c m the PPL view
Just below them are two biotite cryst
in the XPL view. can be seen to have slightly higher rehef than the large
da:k brown absorption colours.
als showing light and sanidines which occupy the bottom left corner of the .
gmshed from the feldspar in that it
Quartz can be distin field . In the XPL view the multiple twinning in the plag10-
is relatively clear in the clase crystals is obvious. The two . lrge crystals at the
PPL view and some crystals
show a slightly higher inter right of the photograph are of samdme, one . showmg a
ference colour than the feldspars.
d1tmgmsh the alkali feldspar from
It is more difficult to simple twin. At the bottom left there 1s a hole m the shde
this rock th former shows only simp
the plagioclase, but in in which the large sanidine shows broken fragments.. A
at the top nght corner of the field
le twins: the crystals few microphenocrysts of pyroxene are visible,. one lymg
of view are of alkali just above the centre of the field . Unfortunately 1t does not
show up very well in the PPL view because the. su stage
feldspar, whereas the large crystal
near the centre of the
field is plag1oclase. 1:'he dis inction
. is most easily made by diaphragm was stopped down to sho"". the rd1ef m the
the difference m relief which cann
ot easily be shown in plagioclase feldspar, and in the XPL view this pyroxene
photographs, but the plagioclase in this
rock has a higher is in the extinction position.
relief than quartz whereas the alkali
felds par has a lower and
rehef. Trachyte from lschia, Italy; magnification x 14, PPL
Granodiorite from Crifef l-Dalbeattie,
Scotland; magnifica 64, 65 and
twn x 11, PPL and XPL. Additional trachyte photographs are shown in

Intermediate ro

Intermediate rocks

Syenite 141


A syenite is a ligh
t-coloured, coarse-g . .
ing mainly of alkali rained rock con
feldspar with less sist This name 1s used "or
,, a melanocratic or mesocratic potassic
less than 5 % of felds than 5 % quartz,
pathoid. Clinopy or
biotite and even olivin roxene, ho rnble T he photographs sh
e may be present nde, cr ystals of biotite and clino-
in small amou .":'
Plagioclase may be nts. pyroxene, with one ol ivme crystal towards the bottom
present as an accesso
t of trachyte.
plutonic equivalen ry. This rock is
the left corner of the fi Id its interference colour m t he XPL
The upper photog
raph is of a polished
slab of larvikite,

view is dark green. rivme

is only an accessory constituent
a syenite commonl
y used as a decorativ of a shonkinite. T e d of the field of view is
because of the moo
nstone schiller sho
e building materia
l occupied by an a : ref :;
al P with a symplectite-like
feldspars. A thin secti
on cut from this
wn by the alkal
i intergrowth, best seen
the v. . .
me sodic plag10-

fi \:
XPL view in the rock is illustrated clase is also present
middle photograph. in e s mplectite which
view is occupied Most of the field of
by cryp toperthitic appear brown are ne g ained alteration prodcts of
alkali feldspar. A
7: ( \;
small amount of neph r l amount of nepheline is also
eline is present in
cannot be easily this sample but
crystal sho wing a
illus trated in one
green interference
photograph. The
s n w
hotograph. With mcreasmg amoun
not easily is n
edges of the field
is an iron-rich
colour at the right
olivine: clinopyro
ock would grade into a 152). (see

Shonkinitefrom Shonkm Sag, H'igh ood Mountains, Mon-

and biotite are also xene .

tana, USA; magnification x 22, PPL

w and XPL .
The lower photogr
aph is of a granular
A field of view has -textured syenite.
been chosen so as
magnesian minerals to show the ferro
at the edges only.
top edge showing a The mineral on the
brown interference
ene; a purplish abso colour is of pyrox
rption colour bein
interference colour g added to the
is the cau se of the
colour. The crystals slightly anomalous
showing red and
right-hand edge green colours at the
are olivines with
rims to the crystals. alkaline amphibole

First and second phot

ographs: Syenite from
Norw ay; magnifi Larvik in
cation x I (first pho
photo), XPL. to), x 11 (second
Third photograph: Sye
nite from Ilimaus saq,
Greenland; magnificat South-west
ion x 16, XPL.

Acid rocks I
Acid rocks




aline1 rhyolite. It is
.. e given to a peralk
A rhyolite is an acid volcanic rock generally contam mg This is the nam l rhyolite by the pres
ed fro m a nor ma
ph nocrysts of quartz and alkali-rich feldspai 111 a fine- usually distinguish
ase and the sodium
gramed or glassy groundmass U niortuna,. rysts of anorthocl
tely because the
, ence of phenoc etim es an alk ali pyr
. . aenigmatite. Som
quartz p h enocrysts may be abse t it is so e 1mes im titanium mineral
f t
P?Ssible to state without a chem c I analysrn whether a oxene is present but
it is not always gree
n in colour (see
rhyolites is
e used for per alka line
g1ven rock is a rhyolite. The feldsp ar may be samdme, sodic below). Another nam uish from a
is difficult to disting
plagioclase or both. Granite is the coarse-grained e mva- comendite but this type onl y. A com endite
ical observatio ns
I en Many hyolites are wholly glassy and som e ave a
pantellerite by opt
min era ls and is more likely to
h1g proportion of glass- the term sobs1d.zan and pilchstone tends to have less ma
. rysts.
then apply respectively , these terms do not, ho wever,
. contain quartz phenoc e locality to
imp 1y rhyolite composition It may b samples from the typ
o ted that some We have chosen two raphs show

petrologists define obsidia and p1 tc s o e not on the illustrate this roc k.
The firs t and sec ond pho
d by the very
clase, easily identifie
basis of crystallinity but on water c ontent . m the former phenocrysts of anortho mic rop heno
it is usually less than 1 0/
eth er wit h
/o and m the latter up to ] Q 0/ nning, tog
/o fine cross-hatched twi set in a fine
We have chosen a rock containing two types of feldspar and a fayalitic oliv
crysts of pyroxene rtz and feld spar.
which is ma inly qua
phenocrysts in a microcrystall'me to glassy groundmass grained groundmass of view , it is
tal is visible in this field
showing perlitic fracturin os of th p henocrysts are of Only one olivine crys
alkali feldspar, some of
h s ow simple twmnmg and to the left of centre of
the field , sho win g a blu
een inter
que are of
contain glass 1 ns, one phenocryst in the field is a tals which are alm
ference colour. The crys
_ thir d pho tog rap h we hav e sho wn a
plagioclase. T t Is showing hig her interference aenigmatite. In the sample of
colours are clinopyrox
ome opaque iron ore crystals higher magnification
XPL view of another
igm atite showing
of aen

two crys tals

are also present. pantellerite in which oxene. In
beside a crystal of pyr
. a dark brown colour are
Rhyolite fi'om Eigg ' scotiand ; magnification x 7, PPL and is com mon ly a sod ic hedenberg
these rocks the pyroxe instead of
XPL. ur may be pale brown
ite, so its absorption colo
Additional views of rhyo/"t1 es and views of pitchstones are green.
shown in 3 5 12 1 4 21 6 6 87, 88, 91and13
, ria,
4 . pantellerite from Pantelle
Two difef rent specimens of
' '

tos) , PPL
Italy; magnification x I 2 (firs
t and seco nd pho

and XPL, x 27 (third photo),


1 A rock in which molar

NeK >I (i.e. in which there is a deif
in crys1a/l
ect to alkalis). This results
ciency of alumina with resp amp hibo le, and, in some
xene or alka li
ization of some alkali pyro
cases, aenigmatile.

Acid rocks

144 Acid rocks

Granite 144



Gran ite is the name

used for leucocratic
rocks containing m coars e-graine
ainly quartz and felds d The granular tex tured sp ecimen illustrated here shows
spar constituting par, alkali fe
between 90 % and ld mamly quartz and two fieldspars The quartz is recognized

35 % of the

feldspar. Accessory tot al in the PPL view b the lack of alteration, and m the .XPL
hornblende or biot

monest mafic mine ite are the com

rals. Muscovite may view, by its mter erence colours which are slightly higher
lite is the fine-grained be present. R hyo
eq uivalent. A mic than that of the feldspar, and b y the non-uniform extinc
micrographic quartz-a ro gra nite with .
lkali feldspar inter t1on shown b Y one crystal at the top ng . ht of the view.

as a granophyre (77). growth is know .

A leucocratic microg n Microclme is clear1Y Ident"fied I by the typical cross
as dykes or veins ranite occurring
is known as ap!ite. hatched twmnmg and there are sl"1ght signs of micro-
_ _

more than 90 % of Gran ites in which

the feldspar is an perth1t1c texture a lso. I this field of view there are only a
known as alkali gran
between 35 % and
alkali felds par are
ites (see 145). When alka
li feldspar is
few plagioclas
corner of the e
:: ? ;
y as
a s
"ble . one near the top left
le win ed crystal showing
65 % of the total
feldspar the names
adamellite and quartz
with quartz content
monzonite have been used
between 5 % and 20
for rocks
very dark grey interference colo s ,.
twin lamellae can Just be seen
g signs of alb1te
ystal Another
The first and second %.
crystal just to the righ of the t
f the field nd show

photographs are of
granite, a rock which the Westerly
has been used as a ing a low grey colour is al o p i l se. To the left of the
for a variety of stu standard granite _ _
dies. From the pho biotite crystal at middle le _tis a s all patch of myrmekite.
seen to consist mainly
feldspar, with biotite
tographs it can be
of a granular mixtur
e of quartz and
From the relative proport10ns o he two feldspars visible
and a few crystals of in this field of view this samp 1 e could be close to the
plagioclase and pot muscovite. Sodic .
assic feldspar are pre boundary between alkali gramte and gramte.
half of the feldspar sent: more than
in this rock is potass .
of it does not sho ic feldspar. Much Gramie firom. South Dakota, USA; magnification x 12,
w microcline-type
pears only in patche twinning which ap PPL and XPL.
s in some of the crystal
the centre of the fie s, e.g. just above .

ld and slightly to the Additional views of granites are shown in 2, JO, 42, 76, 94 ,
showing vague cro right is a crystal
ss-hatched twinning. 105and109.
of the photograph At the left edge
one potassium feld
simple twin. spar crystal shows a

The third photograp

h is an XPL view
from Shap. In this of the granite
view the right lower
occupied by a group part of the field is
of fairly large phenoc
feldspar showing a rysts of alkali
microperthitic textur
plagioclase crystals e. Most of the
show some alterat
recognized in the pho ion and can be
tograph by the pre
twinning and zoning sence of multiple
. The quartz crysta
nized as free from ls can be recog
alteration and the
appear black in this two areas which
photograph, to the
and at the left bot left of the centre
tom corner, are qua
tinction. The only rtz crystals at ex
other mineral presen
amount in this field t in a significant
of view is biotite.
specimen photograph (See also the hand
in IO.)
First and second pho
tographs: Granite Ji-o
Rhode Island, USA; m m Westerly,
agnification x 14, P PL
Third photograph: Gra and XPL.
nite from Shap, England;
tion x 7, XPL. magnifica
Acid rocks

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks


Alkali granite


A leucocratic coarse-
. grained plutonic rock . .
essentially of quartz and
constituting less than
alkali ti Id
I 0 % of th t
: fa f { .
This is the name given to a fine-grained rock consisting
chiefly of sanidine or anorthoclase as groundmass laths
e 1 c tent.
The fi erromagnesian min
or alkal 1 pyroxene.
erals present are alka
l ! amp bole,
and frequently also as phenocrysts, nepheline as ground
mass crystals and often as phenocrysts as well, with some
The PPL view of this alkali pyroxene or alkali amphibole. It is fairly common to
. rock shows an area
of colourless
mmerals and a few fair
are of an alkaline amp h
ly dark-colo
ibole, rieb
d crys als - the
have a mineral of the sodalite group present also. The
coarse equivalent is nepheline syenite.
it w ic h shows
strong pleochroism from
mterference colours sho
wn in the XPL .
a brown to i igo -bl
ue. The
The first and second photographs show phenocrysts of
nepheline and alkali feldspar in a fine-grained groundmass.
y the absorption colo
urs. The large ar :;: :
i y
The greenish-brown microphenocrysts are mainly of
orm mterference colo alkali amphibole, although in the group of crystals near

s 0
ur are quartz phenoc
e fi l d. is made up ma
r sts
inI1 of albite lat s 0
I the bottom left corner of the field there are one or two

op Itica y11 enclosed small crystals of biotite. It is difficult to know which of the
. . m subhedral h
m1crocl ne: crnss-hatche
m1croclme, is V1S1ble.
d twinning, chara :f ;
phenocrysts are sanidine and which are nepheline but
those showing simple twinning are invariably sanidine .
: The crystals of albi
han those of microc
te tend t b
line and show only
:a bit
Thus the crystal to the left of centre of the field, showing
g two triangular areas with different interference colours,
is almost certainly a Baveno twin of sanidine. In this
Alk ali granite fi'om Jos, Nig
eria; magnification x 16 PPL particular rock the nepheline shows a distinct cleavage
and XPL. ,
and this can be seen in the PPL view in two crystals near
to the bottom right-hand corner. This is unusual because,
although feldspar may show one or two cleavages,
nepheline rarely does so. The groundmass of this rock is
made up of sanidine, nepheline and needles of a green
The third photograph is that of a phonolite with a
small amount of nosean present. This photograph is
included here mainly for historical interest in that the thin
section used for this photograph was prepared for J. R.
Gregory in 1895 and has been in the Manchester Univer
sity collection since that time. The view shows nepheline
and feldspar phenocrysts and one phenocryst and a few
microphenocrysts of nosean, which appear almost black
in PPL due to the high density of inclusions. The lath
shaped crystals are likely to be sanidine, whereas the
nepheline crystals are rectangular. In this rock the nephel
ine crystals show zoning by the margins of the crystals
having a higher refractive index than the interior, and they
can be distinguished from the feldspars by this feature.
The groundmass of this rock consists of nepheline, sani
dine, a green pyroxene and nosean.

First and second photographs: Phonolite from Marangudzi,

Zimbabwe; magnification x 14, PPL and XPL.
Third photograph: Nosean phonolite from Wolf; Rock ,
Cornwall, England; magnification x 14, PPL.
r- 't
Alk aline and miscellaneous rocks

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks


Leucite phonolit j\losean leuc1te


This is the name given to

1 a volcanic rock
cons1sts of

Most usage of the term phonolite regards nepheline and
essent1a leuc1te, nephelm .

e and K-feldspa
pyroxene 1s . r: an alkali alkali feldspar as essential constituents so that a nosean
usually !?resent. The term . .
leucitophyre was leucite phonolite contains nosean, leuc1te, nephelme and
formerly used for van .
et1es which contained
no nepherme feldspar, usually with an alkali pyroxene as accessory.
but this distinction is perh .
aps not necessary. The first two photographs show a rock contammg
The photographs are of
. a rock which contains phenocrysts of leucite, (clear in the PPL view), brownish
m1crophenocrysts, each of leucite
which is surrounded nosean crystals with darker brown borders, due to thou
of mall pyroxene crys by a rin
mamly composed of neph
tals. These lie in a grou
eline, leucite, pyroxene
ndmas sands of small inclusions, and phenocrysts and m1cro

small mount of alkali and a phenocrysts of a green pyroxene. The multiple twinning
feldspar. The nepheline
recognized by the rectangu
is easily in the leucite makes it fairly easy to 1dent1fy. Around the
lar and hexagonal shape
crystals and one hexagona of the nosean crystals in the centre of the field the mineral which
l cross-section of zoned neph
me is almost exactly in the el appears almost white in the XPL view is calcite and it can
centre of the field of view
. also be seen fairly well distributed in the groundmass near
Leucite phonolite.fiom Olbriick, other nosean crystals. The rest of the groundmass is
Eifel, Germany; magnifica composed of sanidine, nepheline, nosean, leucite and
tion x 37, PPL and XPL.
green pyroxene.
The third photograph shows a very similar rock to the
one shown above but the nosean crystals have orange
borders. The phenocrysts are of leucite and nosean with
microphenocrysts of pale brown pyroxene havmg greemsh
rims, and microphenocrysts of leucite and nosean in a
groundmass of sanidine, nepheline, nosean, leucite and
pyroxene. One elongated sanidine microphenocryst ap
pears at the bottom right of the field. A small amount of
sphene and calcite can also be detected in the groundmass
but cannot be discerned in the photograph.

First and second photographs: Nosean /eucite phonolite

from Reiden, Eifel, Germany; magnification x 11, PPL and
Third photograph: Nosean leucite phonolite from Laacher
See, Germany; magnification x 9, PPL.


Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks
Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks


Pseudoleucite te

This t rm is us ed to describe a rock whic
A very rare volcanic roe, known
. h contains pheno only from three or four
localities, it is characte1zed ?Y the presen
crysts avmg the shape of leucite crystals ce of pheo
but composed of
a pseudomorph aggregate of nepheline
The roundmass consists of nepheline,
and K-feldspar. crysts of analcite and samdm e m a g oundm as ? of analc1te,
1s freque?tly
alkah pyroxene.
alkali feldspar and alkali feldspar and pyroxene. Melamte garnet
its rarity' it is include d here becaus e 1t 1s
The spcimen illustrated sho s two sizes present. Despite . garnet

both havmg th outlme f leuc1te or anal
of phenocryst s the only extrusive rock which has both nalc1te and
that of a
. . ?
e1ht- and s1x-s1ded sect10n . The two large
cite crystals, i.e. as phenocrysts. Its chemical compo.s1t10n . 1s

a1 e predom1?antly brown m colour and
r phenocrysts sodium-rich phonolite but the nephelme which 1s pr.esent
altered samdme; the clear areas within
this is mainly in a phonolite is here represented by analc1te, nd 1t has
nephelme and analc1te. The clear area in
them are mostly of been suggested that the analcite is a primary mmeral
. the large pseudo not a replac ement of leucite . . .
leuc1te at the nght edge of the field is analc
phenocrysts differ in that they show very
ite. The smaller The photographs show three phenocrysts of samdme
little brown alter
ation and have a higher concentration of needl (grey interference colours). Two of the phenocrysts are
ene.H appeas that these may represent two
es of pyrox partially surrounded by analcite which has a shhtly
ongmal leuc1tes. The groundmass is an
generations of yellowish colour in the PPL view; the dark brown m1cro
mmute crystals of nepheline, feldspar and
aggregate of phenocrysts are of melamte garnet; and the .green crystals
pyroxene. are of aegirine augite. The groundmass consists of laths of
Pseudoleucite phonolite from Bearp
aw Mountains, Mon sanidine, equant analcite and pyroxene.
tana, USA; magnification x 11, PPL
and XPL. Blairmorite from Blairmore, Crow's Nest Pass, Alberta,
Canada; magnification x 12, PPL and XPL.

Alkal ine a
n d m iscellaneous

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks


Nepheline syenite

This is the name used

for a coarse-grained,
consisting essentially felsic rock
of alkali feldspar and
a small proportion nepheline with
of mafic minerals, usu
amphibole or pyroxene ally alkali
or both. It is the plut
valent of phono/ite. The onic equi
medium-grained equ
best called nephe/ine ivalent is
microsyenite, though
name tinguaite also exis the special
ts for this.
The name foyaite has
been used for nepheli
which have a trachyt ne syenites
oid texture and the fi
illustrated fall in this rst two rocks
category. The term ditr
times used for nepheli oite is some
ne syenites in which
subhedral granular, and the texture is
the third rock illustra This is the name given to a rock consisting essentially of
so described. ted could be
_ .
We have chosen to illus
trate this rock type by
:::' alkali feldspar and nephelme m which the
is the dominant constituent (about 50 %) and the
XPL photographs, sinc
colourless low relief min
e the PPL views are dom
erals and hence are less
inated by i her two minerals are in approximately equal amouts.
tive. The first photograph informa It can be considered to be a mesocratic variety of nephelme
shows interpenetrating syenite.
crystals of feldspar in whi tabular
ch the interference colo The rock illustrated shows a large number of equant
patchy. This is partly due urs are
microperthitic, and part
to the fact that the crys
tals are !
euhedral green pyroxene crysta s. The clear crystals to the
ly due to the presence of left of the centre, showing umform mterference colours
twinning in both the sodi multiple
um- and potassium-rich are of nepheline, the other parts are of feldspar. The region
of the microperthite. phases
A region of uniform grey at the right edge of the field is composed of ?ephelme
ence colour can be seen interfer
just below the centre of feldspar intergrowth. A crystal of biotite is V1S1ble at the
This is nepheline, as is the field.
a small triangular area
top right-hand part of towards the top left corner of the field.
the field. The small blac
area just above the cent k triangular
re of the field and to the Ma/ignitefrom Shan-xi, China; magnification x 7, ppL and
analcite. At the top left left is XPL.
of the field are a few crys
pyroxene showing a gree tals of
n interference colour,
alkaline amphibole sho and an
wing a very dar k brown
can be seen at the low colour
er right of the centre of
the field.
The second photograph
shows tabular phenocrysts
microperthitic-feldspar of
and microphenocrysts
ine showing homoge of nephel
neous grey interference
large area just above and colours - a
to the left of the centre
field of view is nepheli of the
ne. Between the phenoc
trachytic-textured ground rysts is a
mass consisting of nep
feldspar, pyroxene and heline,
a few biotite crystals
bright second-order inte showing
rference colours. The mag
tion used here is such nifica
that we cannot easily dist
ferro-magnesian mineral inguish the
s from the one photogr
the regions in which the aph. All
interference colour is
light or dark grey are a uniform
of nepheline.
The third photograph
is of a slightly coarser
rock than the other two -grained
, but here again the alka
and nepheline can be li feldspar
fairly easily distinguishe
homogeneous interference d by the
colour shown by the nep
in contrast to the mic heline,
roperthitic texture of the
A few crystals of nepheli feldspars.
ne are visible to the righ
centre of the field. The t of the
small coloured crystal
of the centre is biotite to the right
and in the bottom righ
crystals of sphene are t corner a few
First photograph: Nep
heline syenite from Pila
Africa; magnification nsberg, South
x 12, XP L.
Second photograph:
Nepheline microsyenit
e from Barona,
Portugal; magnificati
on x 7, XPL.
Third photograph: Nep
heline syenite from Lan
Norway; magnificati gesundfjord,
on x 11, XPL.
Alkaline and miscellaneous

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks

Sodalite syenite N ephelinite

A coarse-grained rock
. consisting essentially of soda
and alkah feldspar lite This is a fine-grained rock consisting essentially of nephel
with generally some nepheline
Alkah a ph1boles and also. ine and pyroxene without olivine (when olivine is, present
i:n . pyroxene are invariably prese
The view illustrated here nt. the name would be olivine nephelinite). If more than 50 %
shows large euhedral sodalite of mafic minerals is present the term melanephelinite is
phenocry ts, isotropic
in the XPL view, amphibole used. ljolite is the coarse equivalent of nephelinite.
pyroxene m a finer-grai and
. ned aggregate of alkali feldspar .
nehelme. The alkal and The rock illustrated in the first two photographs consists
i feldspar shows the same patch
extmction as seen in y mainly of pyroxene microphenocrysts in a finer-grained,
the nepheline syenites illustrated
whereas the nepheline seriate-textured aggregate of pyroxene, nepheline and iron
has uniform interference colours
one nepheline cryst ore. The pyroxenes show a pale greenish colour in the
al showing a pale grey interferen
colour can be seen adjac ce PPL photograph, whereas the nepheline crystals are
ent to two sodalite crystals in the smaller and are transparent. They show a rectangular or
left part of the view. '

Another clear nepheline crystal can

be square shape, and one nepheline crystal is clearly visible

seen to the left of the

large sodalite at the bottom edge of near the top right corner of the field. The small patches of a
the field The two
: lath-shaped isotropic crystals are
of sodahte, md1catmg . also mineral showing a fox-brown absorption colour are of
a tabular habit of the crystals in this
rock. biotite; iron ore is widely distributed throughout the rock.
The third photograph shows a porphyritic nephelinite in
Sodalite syenitefrom Julianhaa which the phenocrysts are of nepheline and pyroxene in a
b, Greenland; magnification
x 11, PPL and
XPL. groundmass which is extremely fine grained, and made of
the same minerals. The only other mineral present in this
rock is iron ore .

First and second photographs: Nephelinite from Mayotte,

Comoro Islands, Indian Ocean; magnification x 53, PPL
and XPL.
Third photograph: Nephelinite from Mayotte, Comoro
Islands, Indian Ocean; magnification x I I, XPL.
Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks
Alkaline and miscell
aneous rocks


ljolite Urtite

ly of
tic rock consisting main
An ijolite is a mesocratic coarse-grained rock consisting A coarse-grained, leucocra
an alka li pyro xene and/or an
essentially of nephelme and clinopyroxene in approxi nepheline, but generally .
e fels1c
small amounts. It 1s mor
mately equal amounts. Frequently melanite garnet is pre amphibole is present in
sent. This is the coarse-grained equivalent of nephe/inite. than ijolite. (155)
. . .
Other names used for coarse-grained nepheline-pyroxene The field of view is main ly occupied by nephelme,
ing a brow n colo ur in the PPL view.
mixtures are alkali pyroxenite, melteigite and urtile (see what altered and show .
field are of an alkah pyro
156), these respectively being hypermelanic ( < few per The dark crystals in the
in part s. At the cent re of the bottom
cent nepheline), melanocratic and leucocratic. The pyro considerably altered
xene is
which ws probably pyro
xene can range in composition from sodic diopside to edge of the field, an area
with fine- gram ed alter at10n products
aegirine augite to aegirine to titanaugite. If titanaugite is almost entirely filled
a group of clear crystals (PPL
the pyroxene in an alkali pyroxenite, then the name jacu of the pyroxene, except for
piraniite is used. view) which are of apat ite.
In the granular-textured specimen we have used to , USSR; magnification
Urtite from Khibina, Kola peninsula
illustrate this rock type, the nepheline is recognized by its
x 11, PPL and XPL.
low relief m the PPL view and by the first-order grey
interference colours in the XPL view. At the edges of the
nepheline crystals, and in cracks within them, the mineral
which has first-order pale yellow and white colours is
cancrinite. The pyroxene in this rock is not strongly
coloured but shows only a pale green absorption colour.

ljolile from A/no, Sweden; magnificalion x 16, PPL and

A leucite-bearing variety of microijolite is shown in 20.

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks
Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks


Basanite Tephrite

g, in
mesocratic rock containin
A fine-grained mesocratic rock containingessential olivine A tephrite is a fine-grained _
, nephelme 01
augite, plagioclase feldspar and a feldspathoid, generall
y addition to plag iocla se and pyro
ine is abse

1t 1s pres ent, the
nephehne, with or without analcite or leucite 1 The eq uiva another feldspathoid 1. Oliv
157), even though oltv111e
lent ohvme-free rock 1s called tephrite (see 158). The coarse rock is called a basanite (see
gical. Theralite is the coar
grained equivalent is known as olivine theralite. tephrite would be more lo_
This sample contains microphenocrysts of olivine which t of teph nte. .
grained equivalen .
illustrate this rock type 1s a

stand out in the PPL view because of their lack of colour The sample we have used to
phenocrysts of chnopyroxene
and high relief. The groundmass is made up of pale hauyne tephrite. It contains

xene crystals are eu edral and
browmsh pyroxenes, scarce laths of plagioclase (e.g. at and hauyne. The clinopyro
-gree n colo ur in the PPL view; both
top nght) and abundant poikilitic areas of nepheline (e.g. have a dark olive
seen in the XPL view. The
m the centre of the field of view and at the left side showing zoning and twinning can be
sts are eithe r blue or colourless and have
low grey interference colours). To the bottom left of the hauyne phenocry
n colour. The groundmass
photograph the pyroxene is intergrown with a colourless rims of a darker blue or brow
ed cryst als of plagioclase, small round
mineral of lower refractive index than the nepheline and consists of lath shap
with hauyne and clmopyrox
with almost zero birefringence; this has been identified as crystals of Jeucite, together
analcite by microprobe analysis. The presence of abundant ene.
nepheline and limited plagioclase in this rock is what dis
tinguishes it from an olivine basalt. Hauyne tephrite ji-0111 Monte Vulturi, near Ma/fi, Italy:
magnification x 27, PPL and XPL.
Basanite ji-om Jaba/ os Sawda, Libya; magnification x 27,
PPL and XPL.

1The name leucite basanite should be used 11 leucite is present . is the Jeldspathoid; if another
1 Tephrite implies that nephe/ine .
ofnepheline, it prefixes the name
smce basanite _is generally taken to mean that nepheline is the jeldspathoid is present in place
feldspathoid. e.g. leucit e tephr ite.

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks

159 1 60

Olivine melilitite Leucitite

c rock
to an extrusive mesocrati
This rock is composed of essential olivine, melilite and This is the name given
g essen tially of leuc ite and a clinopyroxene
pyroxene. Perovskite is a frequent accessory constituent consistin is
is present the name used
and nephelme may be present. The name melilite basalt has without olivine. If olivine
and pyro xene dom inate
been used for this type of rock but it is not appropriate olivine leucitite, and if the olivine of a
The intrusive equivalent
smce plag10clase is absent, its place being taken by melilite. it is known as ugandite.
afergusit e (see 161) .
The sample we have illustrated contains very little Jeucitite is sometimes called
d shows, in the PPL view,
pyroxene and so consists mainly of olivine and melilite The sample we have illustrate d
erocrysts of leucite and zone
crystals in a glassy groundmass. In the PPL view the rock clear phenocrysts and glom
pyro xene , set in a very fine-gramed
appears to consist of olivine and plagioclase micropheno olive-green crystals of .
ly of these two mmerals and
crysts, but it can be clearly seen from the XPL photograph groundmass composed main as
of any other mmerals such
that what one might take to be laths of plagioclase are in glass. There is no evidence
fact melilites. These are clearly identified by their anomal nepheline or feldspar.
x 12, PPL and XPL
ous mterference colours. Closer inspection of the PPL Leucititefrom Celebes; magnification
view shows that many of the melilite laths have a line
along the centre of crystals which is characteristic of
melilite crystals. In addition to olivine and melilite
perovskite is fairly abundant in this rock. The thir d
photograph is a high-magnification view of part of the
field of view shown in the first two photographs, and
shows a number of multiple-twinned perovskite crystals:
m this photograph they are dark green in colour. This
section must be slightly thin because the olivine crystals do
not show colours as high on Newton's scale as expected
from a mmeral whose birefringence is between 0.035 and

Olivine melilitite from Katunga, Uganda; magnification

x 15 (first and second photos) PPL and XPL, x 72 (third

photo), XPL.


Al ka
in s
neous rocks

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks


Fergusite Minette

This name is used for the intrusive

equivalent of leucitite A minette belongs to the lamprophyre group and consists
(160) and it consists of pyroxene
and leucite, or pseudo of essential biotite and K-feldspar; augite and plagioclase
leuc1te. [In many rocks, crystals
having the form of leucite may be present as accessories. Vogesite has the same
are composed mainly of nepheline
and K-feldspar and minerals, except that amphibole takes the place of biotite.
these are known as pseudoleucites
because they are pre Kersantite and spessartite are the equivalents of minette
sumed to be pseudomorphs after leucit
e (see 149).] Chemi and vogesite, except that plagioclase, rather than K-
caHy the rock resembles shonkinite
(141) but, being more feldspar, is the essential feldspar. .
s1hca undersaturated, leucite takes
the place ofK-feldspar. The term lamprophyre is given to a diverse group of
This sample shows subhedral to euhed
ral crystals of a rocks which traditionally have been grouped together be
greernsh pyroxene and a nearly colou
rless mineral. This cause of apparent similarities in texture, mineralogy and
colourless material is made up of
rounded aggregates of occurrence. They are porphyritic rocks, occurring typically
crystals, some of which are undoubted
ly leucites - others in dykes and sills, and characterized by euhedral pheno
are possibly nepheline-feldspar interg
rowths. A small crysts of ferro-magnesian minerals in a fine-grained
amount of an opaque mineral is also visible
, as are a few groundmass containing the same minerals with feldspar or
crystals of biotite.
feldspathoids. Unlike most rocks with the same essential
Fergusite ji-om north of Maria, South
-west Celebes; mag minerals, lamprophyres have an abundance of ferro
nification x 16, PPL and XPL. magnesian minerals and hence are melanocratic-meso
cratic in colour index; calcite and chlorite are common in
the groundmass.
The name /amproite (165, 166, 167) has been used as a
group name for extrusive rocks rich in potassium and mag
nesium. These rocks may be considered as phlogopite-rich
extrusive equivalents of potassic lamprophyres.
The specimen used to illustrate this rock was chosen for
its lack of alteration, and a region in which there is a
segregation of quartz and alkali feldspar has been photo
graphed. The edges of the sanidine crystals are clearly
defined against the clear quartz by the multitude of haema
tite crystals in the sanidine. The top half of the field is more
typical of the general appearance of the thin section in that
it consists mainly of sanidine, biotite and a carbonate
mineral. The carbonate can be identified from the photo
graph as the small clear patches in PPL view, which show
high interference colours in the XPL view. In addition to
these phases, the rock also contains very small crystals
of an alkaline amphibole, apatite and rutile.

Minetteji-om Pendennis Point, Cornwall, England; magni

fication x 20, PPL and XPL.
Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks
Alkali ne and miscellaneous rocks

163 164

Alnoite Mafurite

A rare volcanic rock type which consists mainly of clino

This rock belongs to the alkali lamprophyre group. It con
pyroxene, kalsilite and olivine. Other minerals which 11;1ay
tains ohvme, pyroxene and biotite, usually as phenocrysts.
be present are leucite, melilite, perovskite and phlogoptte.
m a groundmass containing melilite; a carbonate mineral
If the rock had more silica, the kalsilite would be present
is commonly present also. Monticellite may be present.
as leucite and the rock would be a leucitite or olivine
Camptonite consists of essential plagioclase and brown
leucitite. If glass is present the term katungite is used..
amphibole; titanaugite may he present, possibly in excess
The view illustrated was chosen because there ts a
of the amphi bole: a little analcite may occupy the inter
segregation of kalsilite crystals in which their square out
stices. Monchiquite has essential olivine. titanaugitc and
line can be seen; it is not possible to distinguish these
brown hornblende in a matrix of analcite and possihly
optically from nepheline. The phenocrysts cnsist of
some h1ot1tc. Fourchite (of which an unusual textured
olivine and pyroxene, the latter has a browrnsh-green
variety is shown in 355 and 70) is the same but without
colour and good cleavage visible in some crystals. The
yellow and light brown patches are of phlogopite. The
In the specimen illustrated here most of the phenonysh
. groundmass of the rock is made up mainly of needles of
m the centre of the field of view are zoned clinopyroxenes.
clinopyroxene subophitically enclosed in kalsilite - n.o
A few microphenocrysts of olivine are present . At the .
obvious leucite or melilite crystals can be detected m tht'
hottom right of the field of view is a large area which is an
view.The opaque mineral is an iron oxide but some crys
aggregate of crystals of biotite intergrown with pyroxene
tals having a deep brown colour and showing multiple
In the groundmass are poikilitic regions showing a pale
twinning are perovskite.
hrown colour and these are also of hiotite. A pale brown
elongated crystal of mica can be seen towards the right edge Mafurite from Bunyarugaru, Uganda; magnification x 24
of the field. PPL and XPL.
Much of the clear groundmass material seen in the PPL
view is melilite but because of its very low anomalous
interference colour it is not easily identified in the XPL
view at this magnification. The dark brown crystals are
mainly perovskite.

A/noite from Oka. Quebec; magnification x 15. PPL and


tne and miscellaneous rocks

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks

1 66
Fitzroyite Wyomingite

A potassium-rich lava which

consists essentially A potassium-rich lava consisting f phlogopite, dipside
phlogop1te and leucite. This is of
a member of the group
rocks known as lamproites of and leucite in that order of relative amounts. It 1s one
madupite 167, see p. 133).
(cf. wyomingite 166 and
member o a group of rocks known as lamproites (cf.
fitzroyite 165). The term phlogopite leucitite would be
The photographs show microphen
. ocrysts of phlogopite preferable (see also 167).
set 1n a groundmass which consi .

. sts of equant, euhedral The sample illustrated shows m1crophenocysts of

leuc1tes and glass. The phlogopite
in this rock is unusual in phlogopite and diopside in a groundmass cons1stmg of
that multiple twinning is well devel
oped. This can even be
columnar crystals of the same two minerals i trachytic
detected in the PPL view because
of the slight difference in texture and also equant leucites. The phlogop1te crystals
absorption colour of the differe
nt orientations in the
are pale brown in the PPL view, but because of a strong
twinned crystals. The larger leucit
e crystals show the preferred orientation in this section we do not see the full
characteristic zonal arrangement of .
inclusions of glass. In range of absorption colours. D10ps1de m1crophenocrysts
the groundmass are tiny brown elong
ated crystals origin have a greyish colour and one crystal near to the l eft edge
ally thought to be rutile, but shown .
later to be priderite of the field of view can be clearly seen because 1t 1s larger
(K,Bah(Ti,Fe)16032 (see 167).
than most of the other diopside crystals.
Fitzroyite from Howes Hill, West Kimbe In the groundmass, the small round white crystals are
rley, Australia;
magnification x 19, PPL and .
XPL. of leucite but these appear almost black in the XPL view.
Under high magnification, multiple twinning can be de
tected in a few of the larger leucite crystals and this helps
to confirm their identity.

Wyomingite from Leucite Hills, Wyoming; magnification

x 28, PPL and XPL.

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks

Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks



This is a potassium-ric
h volcanic rock con . name covers a considerable variety of differnt vol-
ally of phenocrysts of sisting essent Th1s
diopside and phlogo i . .
grained glassy ground pite in a fine came and intrusive igneous roek types whose . mam con-
mass containing thes
e two mineral st1tuent (greater than 50 o;
10 ) is a carbonate mmeral. The
and material which has s
a composition app h is a
atite is called sovite wh1c
roximating to most comon caib
that of leucite, but of

course this cannot be

deduced from I a na hers contain dolomite, or siderite
observation of the thin
valent to wyomingite (166
section. It is thus chemic
) but differs petrogr
ally equi ; :
a bo t . The texture is generally granular but
aph ically in ra b trachytic or comb layered-.
that most or all of the
leucite is occult.
The rock illustrated show
s phlogopite crystals oph .
;: e ci1 en we have chosen to illustrate is a carbona

iti 1 p s f more than 90% calcite with mmo1
cal!y enclosing sma
Phlogopite also occurs
ll columnar crystals
in the groundmass with
of diopside. o o a te, pyroxene, monicelli , mica and an

trachytic diopside and columnar opaque mineral which we have not ident1 ed .
careful comparison of
photographs reveals clea the two
Carbonalite fi'om Oka comp Iex, Q uebec ' Canada: mag111-

r equant crystals in the -

which appear isotropic PPL view

in the XPL view. These fication x 7, PPL and XPL.
crystals, an aggregate of are leucite
which can be seen tow
lower left of the field of ards the
view Small grains which
black in the PPL view are . appear
in fact dark brown, and are
rare mineral priderite of the
(see p. I 36).
Madupile fi'om Leucite
Hills, Wyoming; magnification
x 16, PPL and
Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks Alkaline and miscellaneous rocks

169 170

Chondrite Achondrite
(meteorite) meteorite

in which
Meteorites are classed as stones, stony-irons or irons Achondrites are stony meteorites (see p. 140)
is either
depending on the proportion of silicates to nickel-iron chondrules are lacking and a nickel iron phase
in very small amoun ts. These are
alloy. The stones are mainly composed of olivine and absent or present
orthopyroxene and are subdivided into chondrites and relatively rare meteorites.
or frag
achondrites according to the presence or absence of The photograph shows coarse-grained clasts
classed as a
chondrules. Chondrules are spherical objects, with an ments in a brecciated matrix. This specimen is
average diameter of I mm, and are composed of olivine eucrite and it consists mainly of bytownite and a pigeon
or pyroxene or both. We have illustrated two chondrites
pyroxene together with an aug te: To the le t of '. the centre
wth of
and one achondrite (170). Most authorities on meteorites of the field is a fragment cons1stmg of an mtergro
lase ontains
prefer to consider chondrites as metamorphic rocks, plagioclase and clinopyroxene. The plagioc
w1thm the
though the chondrules may be of igneous origin. trails of minute inclusions unevenly d1stnbuted
the brown
The first photograph is a PPL view of an olivine - crystals and it is these inclusions which caus
hypersthene chondrite which is the commonest type of colours in the crystals in the PPL view. The clmopy
e can JUSt
chondrite. In the thin section only the one chondrule is relatively iron-rich and a fine lamellar structur
the field is
(which we have illustrated) is present. It consists of be detected in the XPL photograph. The rest of
grain size
radiating crystals of orthopyroxene. The rest of the field occupied by the same minerals but of much finer
parts. The pyroxen e crystals are almost black due
is made up of an aggregate of orthopyroxene and olivine in some
, pro-
and some opaque regions. The opaque regions are mostly to a very high concentration of an opaque mineral
of a metal phase with some sulphides but these cannot be bably magnetite. There is no olivine in this specime .
distinguished in transmitted light. The name eucrite is also used for a terrestnal gabbro1
The second photograph is an XPL view of a chrondrite g of a calcic plagiocl ase (An10-9 0) and a
rock consistin
in which the chondrules are unusually well developed and clinopyroxene. Some of the achondrites have
can be seen to have different mineralogy and texture. similar to those of terrestrial gab bros.
One small chondrule, just above the centre of the field of
Pyroxene-plagioclase achondrite from Stannern, Czecho
view, showing a yellow birefringence colour with black
slovakia, (observed fall, 1808); magnification x 14, PPL
Iamellae is composed of olivine with Iamellae of glass.
and XPL.
The third photograph is a higher magnification XPL
view of the top left corner of the second photograph. The
chondrule at the left of the field consists of bladed twinned
crystals of clinobronzite. Because of the twinning and low
birefringence it could be mistaken in a photograph, for
plagioclase. This chondrule appears to have been broken
at some stage since in section it is not a complete circle.
The other large chondrule is also composed of pyroxene
but is too fine grained for optical identification. Three
separate olivine crystals are visible at the bottom of the
field of view.

First photograph: Chondrite from Bruderheim, Alberta,

Canada; magnification x 28, PPL.
Second and third photographs: Chondrite from Prairie Dog
Creek, Kansas, USA; magnification x 16 (second photo),
XPL, x 43 (third photo), XPL.

140 141

Preparation of a thin section of rock

It is sometimes believed that complex and expensive equipment is required for

making thin sections of rock of standard thickness of 0.03 mm but as the following
instructions indicate this is not the case. Thin sections can be made by the amateur
with a little patience and perseverance. If a diamond saw is available to cut a slab
of rock 1-2 mm in thickness the process is considerably speeded up, but alternatively
a chip of rock not more than 8- l 0 mm in thickness from which to make a thin section
can usually be broken from a hand specimen with a small hammer.
The operations required to prepare a thin section after obtaining the fragment of
rock are set out below.
Using 100 micron particle size (120 grade) carborundum abrasive, one surface
of the rock fragment is ground flat on a piece of glass measuring about 30cm x

30cm and up to 1 cm in thickness; ordinary window glass is satisfactory if thicker

glass is not available. Only a small amount of carborundum (half a teaspoonful),
just moistened with water, is used for grinding. If too much water is present the
carborundum tends to extrude from underneath the rock, and in consequence is
much less effective for grinding.
After grinding with a rotary movement for about half a minute the noise of the
grinding changes because the carborundum grains lose their sharp cutting edges.
The glass plate is washed clean and a fresh slurry of carborundum made on the plate.
The time spent on grinding a flat surface will of course depend on how irregular the
surface of the rock chip was to begin with.
When the surface of the rock is flat the sample should be thoroughly cleaned with
a jet of water before grinding with a finer grade of carborundum. The second stage
of grinding should be carried out with 60 micron size (220 grade) carborundum and
two periods of grinding for about a minute each with a fresh quantity of carborun
dum is all that is required at this stage.
After washing, a final grinding of one surface is made for about a minute with
12 micron size carborundum (3F grade). Again, after cleaning, the rock sample may
be polished using cerium oxide (0.8 micron size) but this is not essential.
The next stage is to glue the smooth surface of the rock on to a microscope slide
in one of two ways. It can be achieved by using a cold-setting epoxy resin which
usually consists of two fluids which must be thoroughly mixed. The maker's instruc
tions for using these should be followed carefully because these materials should not
be allowed to come in contact with the skin and the vapour should not be inhaled.
The refractive index of epoxy resins vary but most are somewhat higher than the
value of 1.54. For any work involving comparison of the refractive index of minerals
with the mounting material the refractive index of the cold resin should be ascer
tained. The chief disadvantage of using an epoxy resin is that it is very difficult to
remove, if, for example, it became necessary to transfer the rock chip to another
glass slide.
The alternative method is to use a material known as Lakeside 70C cement, 1
which is supplied in short rods and must be melted on a hotplate. This material
begins to soften about 85C so a hotplate which reaches lOQC is quite suitable. A

1 Lakeside cement is the proprietary name for a material manufactured in the USA and marketed

in the United Kingdom by Production Techniques Ltd, 11 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hampshire.


flat piece of aluminium or steel placed on a gas stove or on the element of an electric
cooker at very low heat can be used for this stage, if no electric hotplate is available.
A glass microscope slide and the rock specimen should both be heated on the hot
plate until they are just too hot to touch, and some Lakeside cement melted on both
the flat surface of the rock and the slide by touching the hot surfaces with the rod of
Lakeside cement.
Whether the cold-setting epoxy resin or the Lakeside cement is used, the pro
cedure is the same at this stage in that the flat surface of the rock chip must be
attached to the glass slide with no air bubbles between the two surfaces. The rock
chip is placed on the glass slide and with a slight pressure and circular movement the
excess mounting material and air bubbles are squeezed out. The slide is then turned
over to observe whether, between the rock and the slide, any air bubbles have been
trapped; any bubbles must be gently extruded by pressure and, in the case of the
Lakeside cement, this has to be done before the cement cools and becomes too
viscous for the bubbles to escape easily. It can be reheated to render it fluid again.
With the epoxy resin, since the hardening takes place over a period which depends on
the variety, more time is available for extruding the air bubbles but in this case the
sample should not be heated because this only speeds up the hardening process.
If a diamond saw is available the rock fragment can now be cut from its original
thickness of 5 -!0mm to about I mm, otherwise it must be ground by hand. Its
thickness should be reduced to about 0.2mm (200 microns) using JOO micron size
carborundum; at this thickness it is possible to see through the transparent minerals. on of Igneous
hurst, R. J., 1979, The Interpretati
Cox, K. G ., B eII , J. D. and Pank
Carborundum of 60 micron size should be used to reduce the thickness from 0.2 mm
Rocks Allen and Unwin, London. us R ock s.
to 0.1 mm and at this stage quartz and feldspars should show bright second-order , M. K., 1972, Petrology of the Igneo
Hatch F. H , Wells, A. K. and Wells
interference colours when examined under crossed polars. .
Allen and Unwin, London.
The final stage of grinding from 0.1 mm to 0.03mm is accomplished using 1 2 re of Petrology. Hafner, New Yor
H0 Imes A., 1920' The Nomenclatu .
micron size carborundum. This is the stage i n the whole process o f section making '
lcu1allons . MurbYand Co., London
HoImes, A., 1921 , Petro graph ic Meth ods and Ca
which requires the most skill. The grinding has to be done very carefully to ensure s. Wiley , New Yor k . . .
Iddings J p ., 1909 ' Igneous Rock Umvers ty of
that the section is of uniform thickness over its whole area, otherwise the edges tend ' Petrography of the Igneous Rocks. 1
J ohannsen, A ., 1931, A Descriptive
to be ground preferentially and become too thin. The slide must be examined .
Chicago Press. .
between each stage of grinding to check on the uniform reduction of the interference . Deposlls. Freeman, San Francisco.
N gg r , p , 1954 Rocks and Mineral
colours. 1 1 . , and Chin ner, G. A., 1978, Petrology for Stude
Nock0lds, S. R., Knox R. W. O'B. '
In the making of thin sections, it is generally assumed that the rock will contain '
Cambridge University Press. . .
1ts, voI. I ,
some quartz or feldspar. These show first-order grey and white interference colours graphy of basaltic rocks: m Basa
W1kmson, J. F . G ., 1968 The petro
in a thin section of standard thickness and neither should show a first-order yellow 1 ,
163-214. Interscience, New York.
or red colour. Thus a thin section in which quartz or feldspar shows colours in
Newton's scale higher than first-order white is too thick. In the rare instance in
which no quartz or feldspar is present, e.g. in a peridotite or a carbonatite, the
thickness of the section is very difficult to estimate and has to be judged by the
appearance of other minerals; only an experienced thin-section maker can estimate
the thickness in such cases.
It is usual to cover the section, either by painting the surface with a transparent
cellulose lacquer, or better with a glass cover slip since lacquer tends to scratch easily.
This is traditionally done using Canada balsam diluted in xylene but the process of
heating the mixture at the correct temperature for the correct time requires some
experience. We have found that it is quite satisfactory to fix the cover glass either by
using the same epoxy resin which was used to attach the rock to the microscope slide
or by using a clear lacquer painted or sprayed on to the surface of the rock. As in
the process of fixing the rock to the microscope slide, care must be taken to ensure
that no air or gas bubbles are trapped between the cover glass and the rock. This is
particularly important if the material has been applied by a spray because some of
the propellant may be dissolved in the clear lacquer. Any bubbles which are visible
in the liquid after spraying should be allowed to burst before applying the cover slip.
Only enough lacquer or Canada balsam to cover the slide with a thin layer of liquid
should be applied.
The cover slip should touch the liquid on the slide at one end and be allowed to
fall slowly on to the liquid. If any air bubbles are visible they can be extruded by
gentle pressure on the cover glass. The excess lacquer or epoxy resin must be extruded
to render it as thin as possible, otherwise the minerals cannot be brought into focus
with a high-power lens because of the short working distance of lenses of magnifica
tion more than x 40.

Finally when the mounting material has set hard, the excess can be scraped from
round the edges of the cover glass using a razor blade or sharp knife.

Index Index

12 lntergrowth texture 45-54 Miarolitic texture 71, 73

Fine-grained rock

Fitzroyite 136 Intermediate rock 78, JOI-I I Microcrystalline texture 9

Flow texture 41 Intersertal texture 37 Microgabbro 12

FJuxion texture 41 Interstitial texture 37 Microgranite 48, 78

Fourchite 25, 134 Intrafasiculate texture 50 Micrographic texture 46-8

Foyaite 122 Microlite 9

Jacupirangite 126
Fragmental texture 7 Micropegmatitic texture 46

Katungite 135 Minette 133

Gabbro /2, /3, /4, 28, 33, 34,36, Monchiquite 134

Kelyphitic texture 59
Kentallenite 105 Monzonite I 06
Garnet peridotite 82
Kersantite 133 Mugearite 87
All references refer Glassy globules 7
to page numb Mutual relations of crystals 27-73
ers. Kimberlite 81
Page numbers m ita
lics refer to Glassy texture 4, 5-8
add1t10nal ph otograp Komatiite 26,84 Myrmekitic texture 49
hs of rocks in
part 1 where detailed Glomerocryst 32
descriptions of
them are mcluded in 32
part 2. Glomerophyric texture
Lamellar & bleb-like intergrowths Nepheline syenite 51,122
Glomeroporphyritic texture 32 50-2
Absarokite 87 Nephelinite 125
Basic rock 78, 87-100 Grain size 12 Lamellar crystal 20
Accessory mineral oscillatory 63
78 Norite 99
Benmoreite 87 reverse 61 Granite 4, 9, JO, 29, 47, 49, 51, 60, Lamproite 136
Achondrite 14 I Nosean Jeucite-phonolite 119
sector 66 70, 73, 114-16
Bladed crystal 20 Lamprophyre 133, 134
A cicular crystal Curved crystal
20 24 Granodiorite 46,108
Blairmorite 121 Larvikite 110
Acid rock 78, 112-16
Bleb-like intergrowths Granophyre 114 Obsidian 112
50, 52 Lath-shaped feldspar 20
Adamellite 114 Dacite 107
Boninite Granophyric texture 46-8 Ocellar texture 71, 73
I 02 Layering 68
Alkali gabro 95 Dendritic crystal 20-21
Branching crystals Granularity 9-17 Oikocryst 33
24-5 Leucite basanite 128
Al kali granite Dendritic overgrowth 58
114, 116 Granule 19 87
Olivine basalt
Leucite phonolite 118
Alkali olivine basal Camptonite Diorite 43, 59, 103
t 87 ,89 134 Graphic texture 46-8 131
Olivine leucitite
Leucite tephrite 129
Allotriomorphic cry Carbonatite Directed texture 41-5
stal 18 139 130
Olivine melilitite
Leucitite 131
Alnoite 134 Ditroite 122 Harrisite 23
Cavity textures 71 Olivine nephelinite 125
Leucitophyre 118
Alkali picrite Dolerite 24, 35,36,38, 39. 40, 43. Harzburgite 80
87 Chadacryst 33 Olivine tephrite 129
50,55,57, 63, 98 Leucocratic 78
Aligned textures Chondrite Hawaiite 32,87
41-5 140 Olivine teschenite 96
Doleritic texture 34 Lherzolite 29, 80
Amphibolite Hiatal texture 14
86 Coarse-grained rock 12 Olivine theralite 128
Druse, drusy cavity 71. 73 Light-coloured rock 78
Amygdaloidal textur Hollow spherulite 54
e 71, 72 Columnar crystal 20 Olivine tholeiite 87
Dunite 69, 79 Liquid immiscibility 7a
Andesite 15, 65, IOI Holocrystalline texture 4
Com b layering 44 Ophimottled texture 34,37
Lithophysa 54, 71
Anhedral crystal Holohyaline texture 4
18 Comb texture 44 Em bayed crystal 20, 21 Ophitic texture 34-7
Lunar low-ti basalt 90
Ankaramite Hornblendite 28, 86
66, 87,93 Comendite 113 Equant crystal 19 Orbicular granite 70
Lunar high-ti basalt 91
Anorthosite Hyaline texture 4, 5
69, 100 Consertal texture 45-6 Equidimensional crystal Orbicular texture 69,70
Antiperthitic texture Hyalophitic texture 37
50, 52 Corona texture 59 41-5
Equigranular. textures 14, 27-9 Madupite 138 Oriented textures
Aphanitic texture Hyalopilitic texture 41
9 Crescumulate layering 59-68
44 Essential mineral Mafic rock 78 Overgrowth texture
Aphyric texture Hypautomorphic crystal 18
9 Crinanite 96 Essexite 67,68, 95, 97 Mafurite 135
Aplite 47, 114 Hypermelanic rock 78
Cryptocrystalline texture 113
9 Euhedral crystal Malignite 123 Pantellerite
Ash-fall tuff 7 Hypidiomorphic crystal 18
Crystallinity 4-8 22, 23
Eutaxitic texture 8 Medium grained rock 12 Parallel-growth texture
Ash-flow tuff Hypocrystalline texture 4, 5
7 Crystallite 9 Exsolution texture Melanephelinite 125 Paramorph 26
3, 50
Automorphic crystal Crystal shapes
Hypohyaline texture 4
18 18-2 7 Melanocratic rock 78 Pele's hair 6
Axiolites 54 Crystal zoning Feldspathic peridotite
61-8 80 Idiomorphic crystal 18 Peridotite 15, 23, 33, 34, 80
Melilitite 31,130
continuous 61 Felsic rock 78 lgnimbrite 7
Banded textures convolute Melilite basalt 130 Perlitic cracks 5
68-9 65
discontinuous 61 Felsite 9
Basalt 5,10, J 7,18, ljolite 16, 126 Melteigite 126 Perthitic texture 50, 51
19, 21, 22, 30, even 63
32,37,38,40, 71 Felsitic texture 9 9
, 72, 87-93 hourglass 66 Inequidimensional crystal 19 Mesocratic rock 78 Phanerocrystalline texture
Basanite 128 multiple 63 Felty texture 41
Inequigranular texture 14, 30-41 Meteorite 140, 141 Phenocryst 14
normal 61
Fergusite 131, 132
Intergranular texture 37 Meymechite 85 Phlogopite leucitite 137


Phonolite 117 Sieve texture 23, 24 Trachybasalt 87

Picrite 80 Skeletal crystal 20, 21 Trachyte 42, 72, I 09

Picritic basalt 18, 20, 21, 22, 87, 92 Sodalite syenite 124 Trachytic texture 41, 42

Pilotaxitic texture 41 Sovite 139 Trachytoid texture 41, 43

Pitchstone 5, 6, 12, 58, 112 Spessartite 133 Troctolite 28, 80

Platy crystal 20 Spherulitic texture 54--6 Tuff 7, 8

Poikilitic texture 33, 34 Spilite 94

Poikilophitic texture 34, 36 Ugandite 131

Stone-ball 71
Ultrabasic rock 78, 79-86
Porphyritic texture 14--16, 31 Subalkaline basalt 87
Ultramafic rock 78
Pseudoleucite phonolite 120 Subhedral crystal 18

Pseudomorph Urtite 126

26-7 Subophitic texture 34--6

Pyroclastic rock 7 Syenite 110, 111

Yariolitic texture 56, 57
Pyroxenite 83 Syenogabbro 87, 95
Yermicular texture 53
Symplectite texture 53
Vesicular texture 71, 72
Quartz diorite 103, 104 Synneusis texture 32
Vitreous texture 4
Quartz gabbro 78
Yitrophyric texture 14
Quartz monzonite 114 Tabular crystal 20
Yogesite 133
Tephrite 68, 128, 129

Radiate intergrowth 57 Teschenite 95, 96

Radiate textures 54-7 Texture (Definition) 3 Websterite 83

Rapakivi texture 59, 60 Theralite 129 Welded tuff 7, 8

Wehrlite 80
Reaction corona 59 Tholeiite 87

Reaction rim Tholeiitic basalt 87 Willow-lake layering 44


10, 42, 55, 56, 112 Tholeiitic picrite 87 Wyomingite 137


Tholeiitic picrite basalt 87

Seriate texture 14, 30 Tinguaite 122 Xenomorphic crystal 18

Shonkinite 111 Tonalite 52, I 04

Shoshonite 87 Trachyandesite I 06 Zoning see Crystal zoning