By Menzies, Bruce Keith; Ng, C. W. W.; Simons, N. E
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This is described as plutonic and the solidified magma is referred to as a pluton. The slow rate of cooling at depth allows crystals to grow to sizes that are easily visible to the naked eye. The resulting igneous rock is described as coarse-grained. This is in marked contrast to the fine-grained rocks that result from the solidification of lava from a volcano. In this case cooling is rapid and the resulting crystals are microscopic. In some cases crystals do not have time to form resulting in the formation of volcanic glass (obsidian).
If magma is cooled rapidly, finer-grained crystals are formed. If it is cooled extremely rapidly, crystals are not formed at all, instead producing glass. So the rate of cooling controls the grain size in the first instance, and to some extent the texture. Slowly cooled rocks are found in the roots of mountain chains because the magma chamber would have cooled slowly, giving rise to the formation of relatively large crystals (>2 mm). Examples of this can be found on Dartmoor in Devon, England (Fig.
The most common igneous rock resulting from volcanism is basalt. This dark coloured crystalline rock is the result of lava (molten rock on the Earth’s surface) solidifying. Granite is also a very common igneous rock; originating from the injection and solidification of large volumes of magma (molten rock below the Earth’s surface) into the crust. Granite is only exposed at the Earth’s surface in eroded mountain chains and in the roots of ancient mountain belts now preserved in the shield areas.
A short course in soil-structure engineering of deep foundations, excavations and tunnels by Menzies, Bruce Keith; Ng, C. W. W.; Simons, N. E