Calc-alkaline magma series

Calc-Alkaline Magma Series

Calc-alkaline magma series

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The calc-alkaline magma series is one of two main magma series in igneous rocks, the other magma series being the tholeiitic. A magma series is a series of compositions that describes the evolution of a mafic magma, which is high in magnesium and iron and produces basalt or gabbro, as it fractionally crystallizes to become a felsic magma, which is low in magnesium and iron and produces rhyolite or granite. Calc–alkaline rocks make up a major part of the crust of the continents.

Calc–alkaline series

The diverse rock types in the calc–alkaline series include volcanic types such as basalt, andesite, dacite, rhyolite, and also their coarser-grained intrusive equivalents (gabbro, diorite, granodiorite, and granite). They do not include silica-undersaturated, alkalic, or peralkaline rocks.

Geochemical characterization

Rocks from the calc–alkaline magma series are distinguished from rocks from the tholeiitic magma series by the redox state of the magma they crystalized from (tholeiitic magmas are reduced, and calc–alkaline magmas are oxidized). When mafic (basalt-producing) magmas crystalize, they preferentially crystalize the more magnesium-rich and iron-poor forms of the silicate minerals olivine and pyroxene, causing the iron content of tholeiitic magmas to increase as the melt is depleted of iron-poor crystals. However, a calc–alkaline magma is oxidized enough to precipitate significant amounts of the iron oxide magnetite, causing the iron content of the...
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