Chapter 7 Summary & Key Term Check

Chapter 7 Main Ideas

7.1 Magma and How It Forms

Magma is molten rock, and in most cases, it forms from partial melting of existing rock. The chemistry of magma depends on the original rock that’s melting, as well as how much partial melting happens. Magma forms by decompression melting, flux-induced melting (fluid-induced melting), and conduction.

7.2 Crystallization of Magma

Magmas range in composition from ultramafic to felsic. Mafic rocks are rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium, and contain approximately 50% silica. Felsic rocks are richer in silica (~70%) and have lower levels of iron, magnesium, and calcium, and higher levels of sodium and potassium than mafic rocks. Bowen’s reaction series allows us to predict the order of crystallization of magma as it cools. Magma can be modified by fractional crystallization (separation of early-forming crystals), by mixing in material from the surrounding rocks by partial melting, and by mixing with magmas of differing chemistry.


Fill in the blanks.

    1. What’s the difference between the two branches of Bowen’s reaction series?
      On the                      (continuous or discontinuous) branch, different minerals form through a sequence of chemical reactions. For example, the first mineral to form as ultramafic magma cools is                      (this mineral is green). That mineral then reacts with the melt to make the next mineral,                      (pyroxene, amphibole, or biotite?). In contrast, on the                      (continuous or discontinuous) branch, the mineral is always                      (potassium feldspar or plagioclase feldspar?) but its composition varies.
    2. How does Bowen’s reaction series explain zoned plagioclase feldspar crystals?
      Plagioclase that is                      (calcium right or sodium rich) forms early on in the cooling process of a magma, but as the temperature drops, a more                      (calcium right or sodium rich) variety forms around the existing crystals.
    3. How does fractional crystallization change the composition of a magma chamber?
      In a mafic magma chamber where the mineral                      (olivine or quartz) forms first, crystals will sink to the bottom of the magma chamber. The magma that’s left behind will be more                      (mafic, intermediate, or felsic) in composition. At the bottom of the chamber, if the crystals melt again, that magma will be more                      (mafic, intermediate, or felsic) in composition.

To check your answers, navigate to the below link to view the interactive version of this activity.

7.3 Classification of Igneous Rocks

Igneous rocks are classified based on their mineral composition and texture. Felsic igneous rocks have less than 20% dark minerals (ferromagnesian silicates including amphibole and/or biotite) with varying amounts of quartz, both potassium and plagioclase feldspars, and sometimes muscovite. Mafic igneous rocks have more than 50% dark minerals (primarily pyroxene) plus plagioclase feldspar. Most intrusive igneous rocks are phaneritic (individual crystals are visible unmagnified). If there were two stages of cooling (slow then fast), the texture may be porphyritic (large crystals in a matrix of smaller crystals).

7.4 Intrusive Igneous Bodies

Magma intrudes into country rock by pushing it aside or melting through it. Intrusive igneous bodies tend to be irregular (stocks and batholiths), tabular (dikes and sills), or pipe-like. Batholiths have areas of 100 km2 or greater, while stocks are smaller. Sills are parallel to existing layering in the country rock, while dikes cut across layering. A pluton that intruded into cold rock is likely to have a chilled margin.

Key Term Check

What key term from Chapter 7 is each card describing? Turn the card to check your answer.

Igneous Rock Name Check

Which of the igneous rocks from Chapter 7 is each card describing? Turn the card to check your answer.


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