You are on page 1of 19

Practical 1 Acid Igneous Rocks

Light Minerals: Quartz and Feldspars

Most acid igneous rocks are dominated by quartz and feldspar as the main minerals.
Usually in granitic rocks there are two feldspars, one alkali and one plagioclase (albite).

Alkali Feldspar
Hand specimen
Pink colour most characteristic
Translucent/opaque
Two sets of cleavage
Pearly lustre
Monoclinic (except microcline)
Thin section
Low birefringence
Low relief
Cleavage (two sets in sections
Perpendicular to c)
Light Minerals: Quartz and Feldspars

Most acid igneous rocks are dominated by quartz and feldspar as the main minerals.
Usually in granitic rocks there are two feldspars, one alkali and one plagioclase (albite).

Alkali Feldspar
Quartz Hand specimen
Hand specimen Pink colour most characteristic
White, grey, yellowish white Translucent/opaque
Translucent to transparent Two sets of cleavage
No cleavage but concoidal fracture Pearly lustre
Vitreous lustre Monoclinic (except microcline)
Trigonal Thin section
Thin section Low birefringence
Low birefringence Low relief
Low relief Cleavage (two sets in sections
Lack of cleavage Perpendicular to c)
Light Minerals: Quartz and Feldspars

Most acid igneous rocks are dominated by quartz and feldspar as the main minerals.
Usually in granitic rocks there are two feldspars, one alkali and one plagioclase (albite).

Alkali Feldspar
Alkali Feldspar Hand specimen
Hand specimen Pink colour most characteristic
Pink colour most characteristic Translucent/opaque
Translucent/opaque Two sets of cleavage
Two sets of cleavage Pearly lustre
Pearly lustre Monoclinic (except microcline)
Monoclinic (except microcline) Thin section
Thin section Low birefringence
Low birefringence Low relief
Low relief Cleavage (two sets in sections
Cleavage (two sets in sections Perpendicular to c)
Perpendicular to c)
Light Minerals: Quartz and Feldspars

Most acid igneous rocks are dominated by quartz and feldspar as the main minerals.
Usually in granitic rocks there are two feldspars, one alkali and one plagioclase (albite).

Alkali Feldspar
Alkali Feldspar Hand specimen
Hand specimen Pink colour most characteristic
Pink colour most characteristic Translucent/opaque
Translucent/opaque Two sets of cleavage
Two sets of cleavage Pearly lustre
Pearly lustre Monoclinic (except microcline)
Monoclinic (except microcline) Thin section Microcline
Thin section Low birefringence
Low birefringence Low relief
Low relief Cleavage (two sets in sections
Cleavage (two sets in sections Perpendicular to c)
Perpendicular to c)
Light Minerals: Quartz and Feldspars

Most acid igneous rocks are dominated by quartz and feldspar as the main minerals.
Usually in granitic rocks there are two feldspars, one alkali and one plagioclase (albite).

Alkali Feldspar
Hand specimen Plag Feldspar
Pink colour most characteristic Hand specimen
Translucent/opaque Greenish white most
Two sets of cleavage characteristic
Pearly lustre Translucent/opaque
Monoclinic (except microcline) Two sets of cleavage
Thin section Pearly lustre
Low birefringence Triclinic
Low relief Thin section
Cleavage (two sets in sections Low birefringence
Perpendicular to c) Low relief
Cleavage (two sets in sections
Perpendicular to c)
Polysynthetic Twinning
Light Minerals: Quartz and Feldspars

Most acid igneous rocks are dominated by quartz and feldspar as the main minerals.
Usually in granitic rocks there are two feldspars, one alkali and one plagioclase (albite).

Alkali Feldspar
Hand specimen Plag Feldspar
Pink colour most characteristic Hand specimen
Translucent/opaque Greenish white most
Two sets of cleavage characteristic
Albite Pearly lustre
Monoclinic (except microcline)
Translucent/opaque
Two sets of cleavage
Thin section Pearly lustre
Low birefringence Triclinic
Low relief Thin section
Cleavage (two sets in sections Low birefringence
Perpendicular to c) Low relief
Cleavage (two sets in sections
Perpendicular to c)
Polysynthetic Twinning
Light Minerals: Some Problems with
Feldspars
In many granitic (i.e coarse-grained acid rocks) alkali and plagioclase feldspars are mixed together as
perthite (an exsolution texture).

Plagioclase lamellae within orthoclase (K-feldspar) Plagioclase lamellae within microcline (K-feldspar)
Light Minerals: Some Problems with
Feldspars
In many granitic (i.e coarse-grained acid rocks) alkali and plagioclase feldspars are mixed together as
perthite (an exsolution texture).
Light Minerals: Muscovite

Muscovite
One excellent cleavage
Transparent (in small flakes)
Appear silvery/golden appearance
Light Minerals: Muscovite

High birefringence in XPL


Clear in PPL with low relief
Usually has a pitted appearance
Dark Minerals: Biotite

Colour: Black to brown


Cleavage: One excellent, forms books.

Brown, yellowish brown,


Greenish brown in PPL
Strongly Pleochroic
Dark Minerals: Hornblende
Dark Minerals: Hornblende

Yellow-green, brown-green, blue-green, brown in


PPL
Strongly pleochroic.
124 degree cleavage
Can look like biotite in thin-section but has higher
relief.
Rock Types

Acid Igneous Rocks > 66 wt% silica


Rock Types

Acid Igneous Rocks > 66 wt% silica

Rhyolite: >20% Quartz; 10-35% of the feldspar is


plagioclase.
Rock Types

Most rhyolites are mostly glassy and/or banded.

Bands are devitrified zones.

A devitrified rhyolite is often called a pitchstone.

A completely glassy black rhyolite consists of obsidian.


Rock Types: Field names

Some useful rock names.

(1) Porphyry Any leucocratic intrusive rock with phenocrysts in


a fine-grained groundmass. Usually named after the most
common phenocryst (e.g. Quartz Porphyry).
(2) Aplite An equigranular leucocratic intrusive rock.
(3) Felsite An equigranular leucocratic rock dominated by
feldspar.
(4) Pegmatite A leucocratic rock where most crystals are >3cm
in size.
The Practical

20% of coursework

Name all six specimens.


Give a short description of the 5 hand specimens including
mineralogy and texture. No sketch is required.
Give a full description with schematic sketch of the thin-
section of the muscovite granite.

Hand-in date: End of next practical session.