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1.0 Objectives

The objectives of this laboratory works is:

i. To identify the characteristics of igneous rocks

ii. To classify the igneous rocks

2.0 Introduction

The traditional methods of conducting laboratory activities (assigned as Level 0) will not be able to
provide the avenue for students to enhance independent learning activities and inculcate creativity
and innovation. The traditional method is fully prescription where the three elements namely problem,
ways & means and answers are provided/ fully given to the students. However, it is still necessary to
be implemented as part of the whole laboratory course activity especially to first and second year

In this laboratory activity student will be exposed to the technique on identifying the physical
characteristics of igneous rocks.

3.0 Theoretical Background

Rocks that are formed by crystallization of a melt are igneous rocks and they may be formed at depth
(intrusive or plutonic) or on the surface (extrusive of volcanic). In general, igneous rocks that cool
rapidly (i.e. volcanic rock) are very fine-grained whereas rocks that cool slowly (i.e. plutonic rocks) are

3.1 Problem Statement

Identification of rocks is essential for mineral and earth resources utilization as well as civil
engineering works. The ability to characterize available rocks on site will results on knowing the
characteristics, behaviour and expected strength. Thus, give essential guide to further engineering

As group you are given a set of rocks to identify the physical features and textures of igneous rocks.

The group must carry out the following the procedures outline and subsequently analyse the data and
present it in a proper technical format.

4.0 Ways & Means

4.1 Apparatus

i. Magnifying hand lens.

ii. Labelled specimen of igneous rocks

4.2 Procedures

1. Select the labelled specimen of igneous rocks given in the list of rocks.
2. Observe the samples to determine the physical characteristics of igneous rocks – You can refer
to your lecture notes for the details.
3. Tabulates the result from the observation complete with the pictures of the rock sample.

a) Data Acquisition
Observation should be made on the following items:
i. Rock name
ii. Texture
iii. Colour
iv. Grain size
v. Mineral composition
vi. Origin

5.0 Result and Data

Rock Name Texture Colour Grain Size Origin
Light Orthoclase–46.97
Pegmatite Phaneritic <25% dark minerals Coarse Plagioclase-1.52 Plutonic
Grey Muscovite-18.93

Light Orthoclase-43.4
Granite Phaneritic <25% dark minerals Coarse Plagioclase-6.06 Plutonic
Light grey Muscovite-16.67

Rhyolite Aphanetic <25% dark minerals Medium Plutonic
Radish brown

Dark essentially all
Obsidian Glassy dark minerals Fine Volcanic

25-50% dark minerals
Syenite Phaneritic Medium Plagioclase-27.27 Plutonic
Dark grey

Magnetite &
Dark minerals Hornblende-15.15
Gabbro Phaneritic precominant Medium Augite-21.21 Plutonic
Grey Olivine-1.52

6.0 Discussion

We are given a task to conduct an experiment regarding to the identification of igneous rocks.
Igneous rock is rock formed through cooling and crystallization process of a molten magma originated
from the lower part of earth crust (asthenosphere). There are many criteria of an igneous rock which is
their names, texture, colour, grain size, mineral composition and their origin. There are two different
rock type which the intrusive and the extrusive. Intrusive is the magmatic crystallization of rock within
the earth surface and the extrusive is crystallization process far below the earth surface.

We been given six rock samples which is Gabbro, Pegmatite, Rhyolite, Obsidion, Syenite and
Granite. The first characteristic is the texture. Gabbro, pegmatite, syenite and granite have phaneritic
texture because the individual grain are visible to the naked eyes. Rhyolite’s texture is aphanetic
because the individual crystal are so small and cannot be seen. Obsidian ‘s texture is glassy because
it similar to an ordinary mirror.

The second characteristic is the colour. Gabbro and pegmatite is grey because it has <25% dark
mineral. However, rhyolite also has <25% dark mineral but the colour is reddish brown. Obsidian’s
colour is black because it is its essential dark mineral. Syenite is dark grey because the its range is
around 25~50% of dark mineral while granite is light grey so its has 25% of dark mineral.

Ther third characteristic is the grain size is the size of the smaller and variety of minerals in the
rock. Gabbro, rhyolite and syenite has medium grain size while pegmatite and granite has coarse grain
size. Obsidian has fine grain size because it experience rapid cooling after its erupted . The relationship
between the cooling rate of igneous rock with the grain size the grain size is fine when the cooling rate
increase. That’s determine the why the grain size of an obsidian is fine. Vice versa to the coarse and
medium grain size.

The fourth characteristic is the mineral composition of each sample. Within the mineral has variety
of mineral composition. We conducted mineral classification based the table given. Gabbro consist of
21.21% magnetite & Ilmenite, 15.15% of hornblende,21.21% of Augite, 1.52% of olivine, 40.91 of
plagioclase. Pegmatite consist of 31.82% of quartz, 46.97% of orthoclase, 1.52% of plagioclase,
18.93% of muscovite. Rhyolite consist of 22.73% quartz, 7.58% of hornblende, 34.85% of orthoclase,
15.15% of plagioclase and 21.21% of biotite. Granite consist of 27.27% of quartz, 1.52% of hornblende,
43.40% of orthoclase, 6.06% of plagioclase, 16.67% of muscovite, 4.55% of biotite. Obsidian consist of
16.64% of quartz, 13.64% of hornblende, 34.85% of orthoclase, 15.15% of plagioclase, and 21.21% of
biotite. Syenite consist of 31.82% of hornblende, 28.78% of orthoclase, 27.27% of plagioclase and
13.63% of biotite.

The fifth characteristic is the origin of the rock sample. Based on the characterisitic of the grain
size, coarse or medium grain size are plutonic and fine grain size is volcanic. Pegmatite, granite,
rhyolite, syenite and gabbro are from platonic origin while obsidian from the volcanic origin.

The use of igneous rock is granite used for expensive kitchen worktops, for construction of
monuments, bridges, office buildings, decorative aggregates, flooring and interior decoration.Granite
looks smooth and shiny when polished and is the most commonly used igneous rock. Basalt used as
an ingredient of concrete as it is a fine grained rock. Pumice often used as a decorative landscape
stone. When grounded to powder, it is used as an abrasive in polish compounds and Crystalline igneous
rocks are used in jewelry making and other similar purposes. Igneous rock often used in area prone to
erosion and landslide. It also used in stabilizing and stone pitching area. Igneous rock are hard wearing
and do not absorb water so its good in lower courses of building.

7.0 Conclusion

From the experiment that we have conduct, we achieve the objective of this laboratory work
which is to identify the characteristics of igneous rocks and to classify the igneous rocks. As we know,
igneous rock are formed through cooling and crystallization process of molten magma far below the
earth surface, intrusive igneous rock or within the earth surface, extrusive igneous rock.

We can identify the physical properties of rock by knowing their type. Extrusive igneous rock
who formed from the violent eruption of volcanoes will cool quickly after emitted into the atmosphere.
This type of rock are generally distinguished by their fine grain size. Obsidian is the one of extrusive
igneous rock. While intrusive igneous rock having a slow cooling process because of the depth that
effect the pressure. Usually, this type of rock have coarse grain size. As examples, granite and

In this experiment, we are also able to identify the texture and the mineral composition of rock.
The texture refers to the size, shape and arrangement of the component minerals grains. There are
several texture relationship that we have learned which is phaneratic, aphenitic, glassy, porphyritic,
vesicular and fragmental. Mineral composition of rocks identification have been done by referring to the
Appendix1 (a). From that, we know the percentage of minerals in each type of rocks.

Identification of rocks is essential for mineral and earth resources utilization as well as civil
engineering works. The ability to characterize the rocks will result on knowing the characteristics,
behaviour and expected strength. Thus, give essential guide for the further engineering works.

8.0 Reference



9.0 Appendix

Figure 9.1: Classification of Igneous Rocks