Augite is a common rock-forming pyroxene mineral with formula (Ca,Na)(Mg,Fe,Al,Ti)(Si,Al)2O6. The crystals are monoclinic and prismatic. Augite has two prominent cleavages, meeting at angles near 90 degrees.

Augite Rwanda
Augite – Muhavura volcano
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification9.DA.15
Crystal systemMonoclinic
Crystal classPrismatic (2/m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space groupC2/c
Unit cella = 9.699, b = 8.844
c = 5.272 [Å]
β = 106.97°; Z = 4
ColorBlack, brown, greenish, violet-brown; in thin section, colorless to gray with zoning common
Crystal habitCommonly as stubby prismatic crystals, also acicular, skeletal, dendritic
TwinningSimple or multiple on {100} and {001}
Cleavage{110} good with 87° between {110} and {110}; parting on {100} and {010}
Fractureuneven to conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness5.5 to 6
LusterVitreous, resinous to dull
DiaphaneityTransparent to opaque
Specific gravity3.19–3.56
Optical propertiesBiaxial (+)
Refractive indexnα = 1.680–1.735, nβ = 1.684–1.741, nγ = 1.706–1.774
Birefringenceδ = 0.026–0.039
PleochroismX = pale green, pale brown, green, greenish yellow; Y = pale brown, pale yellow-green, violet; Z = pale green, grayish green, violet


Euhedral crystal of augite from Teide (4.4 x 3.0 x 2.3 cm)

Augite is a solid solution in the pyroxene group. Diopside and hedenbergite are important endmembers in augite, but augite can also contain significant aluminium, titanium, and sodium and other elements. The calcium content of augite is limited by a miscibility gap between it and pigeonite and orthopyroxene: when occurring with either of these other pyroxenes, the calcium content of augite is a function of temperature and pressure, but mostly of temperature, and so can be useful in reconstructing temperature histories of rocks. With declining temperature, augite may exsolve lamellae of pigeonite and/or orthopyroxene. There is also a miscibility gap between augite and omphacite, but this gap occurs at higher temperatures. There are no industrial or economic uses for this mineral.


Augite is an essential mineral in mafic igneous rocks; for example, gabbro and basalt and common in ultramafic rocks. It also occurs in relatively high-temperature metamorphic rocks such as mafic granulite and metamorphosed iron formations. It commonly occurs in association with orthoclase, sanidine, labradorite, olivine, leucite, amphiboles and other pyroxenes.[1]

Occasional specimens have a shiny appearance that give rise to the mineral's name, which is from the Greek augites, meaning "brightness", although ordinary specimens have a dull (dark green, brown or black) luster. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1792.[2]

See also


  • Deer, W. A., Howie, R. A., and Zussman, J. (1992). An introduction to the rock-forming minerals (2nd ed.). Harlow: Longman ISBN 0-582-30094-0
  1. ^ a b Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. ^ a b Augite on
  3. ^ Webmineral data for Augite

Aegirine is a member of the clinopyroxene group of inosilicate minerals. Aegirine is the sodium endmember of the aegirine-augite series. Aegirine has the chemical formula NaFeSi2O6 in which the iron is present as Fe3+. In the aegirine-augite series the sodium is variably replaced by calcium with iron(II) and magnesium replacing the iron(III) to balance the charge. Aluminium also substitutes for the iron(III). It is also known as acmite, which is a fibrous, green-colored variety.

Aegirine occurs as dark green monoclinic prismatic crystals. It has a glassy luster and perfect cleavage. Its Mohs hardness varies from 5 to 6, and its specific gravity is between 3.2 and 3.4.

This mineral commonly occurs in alkalic igneous rocks, nepheline syenites, carbonatites and pegmatites. It also appears in regionally

metamorphosed schists, gneisses, and iron formations; in blueschist facies rocks, and from sodium metasomatism in granulites. It may occur as an authigenic mineral in shales and marls. It occurs in association with potassic feldspar, nepheline, riebeckite, arfvedsonite, aenigmatite, astrophyllite, catapleiite, eudialyte, serandite and apophyllite.Localities include Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada; Kongsberg, Norway; Narsarssuk, Greenland; Kola Peninsula, Russia; Magnet Cove, Arkansas, US; Kenya; Scotland and Nigeria.

It was first described in 1835 for an occurrence in Rundemyr, Øvre Eiker, Buskerud, Norway. Aegirine was named after Ægir, the Norse god of the sea. A synonym for the mineral is acmite (from Greek ἀκμή "point, edge") in reference to the typical pointed crystals.It is sometimes used as a gemstone.

Alkali basalt

Alkali basalt or alkali olivine basalt is a porphyritic, dark-coloured, volcanic rock characterized by phenocrysts of olivine, titanium-rich augite, plagioclase feldspar and iron oxides. For similar SiO2 concentrations, alkali basalts have a higher content of the alkalis, Na2O and K2O, than other basalt types such as tholeiites. They are also characterized by the development of modal nepheline in their groundmass (visible at highest magnification on a petrographic microscope) and normative nepheline in their CIPW norms.Alkali basalts are typically found on updomed and rifted continental crust, and on oceanic islands such as Hawaii, Madeira and Ascension Island.


Angrites are a rare group of achondrites consisting mostly of the mineral augite with some olivine, anorthite and troilite. The group is named for the Angra dos Reis meteorite.

Angrites are basaltic rocks, often having porosity, with vesicle diameters of up to 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in).

They are the oldest igneous rocks, with crystallization ages of around 4.55 billion years.

Basaltic andesite

Basaltic andesite is a volcanic rock containing about 55% silica. It is distinct from basalt and andesite in having a different percentage of silica content. Minerals in basaltic andesite include olivine, augite and plagioclase. Basaltic andesite can be found in volcanoes around the world, including in Central America and the Andes of South America.


Basanite ( ) is an igneous, volcanic (extrusive) rock with aphanitic to porphyritic texture.

The mineral assembly is usually abundant feldspathoids (nepheline or leucite), plagioclase, and augite, together with olivine and lesser iron-titanium oxides such as ilmenite and magnetite-ulvospinel; minor alkali feldspar may be present, as illustrated by the position of the field for basanite in the QAPF diagram. Clinopyroxene (augite) and olivine are common as phenocrysts and in the matrix. The augite contains significantly greater titanium, aluminium and sodium than that in typical tholeiitic basalt. Quartz is absent, as are orthopyroxene and pigeonite. Chemically, basanites are mafic. They are low in silica (42 to 45% SiO2) and high in alkalis (3 to 5.5% Na2O and K2O) compared to basalt, which typically contains more SiO2, as evident on the diagram used for TAS classification. Nephelinite is yet richer in Na2O plus K2O compared to SiO2.

Basanites occur both on continents and on ocean islands. Together with basalts, they are produced by hotspot volcanism, for example in the Hawaiian Islands, the Comoros Islands and the Canary Islands.


Diopside is a monoclinic pyroxene mineral with composition MgCaSi2O6. It forms complete solid solution series with hedenbergite (FeCaSi2O6) and augite, and partial solid solutions with orthopyroxene and pigeonite. It forms variably colored, but typically dull green crystals in the monoclinic prismatic class. It has two distinct prismatic cleavages at 87 and 93° typical of the pyroxene series. It has a Mohs hardness of six, a Vickers hardness of 7.7 GPa at a load of 0.98 N, and a specific gravity of 3.25 to 3.55. It is transparent to translucent with indices of refraction of nα=1.663–1.699, nβ=1.671–1.705, and nγ=1.693–1.728. The optic angle is 58° to 63°.


Geochemistry is the science that uses the tools and principles of chemistry to explain the mechanisms behind major geological systems such as the Earth's crust and its oceans. The realm of geochemistry extends beyond the Earth, encompassing the entire Solar System, and has made important contributions to the understanding of a number of processes including mantle convection, the formation of planets and the origins of granite and basalt.

Geology of São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe both formed within the past 30 million years due to volcanic activity in deep water along the Cameroon line. Long-running interactions with seawater and different eruption periods have generated a wide variety of different igneous and volcanic rocks on the islands with complex mineral assemblages.


Ijolite is an igneous rock consisting essentially of nepheline and augite. Ijolite is a rare rock type of considerable importance from a mineralogical and petrological standpoint. The word is derived from the first syllable of the Finnish words such as Iivaara, Iijoki, common as geographical names in Finland, and the Ancient Greek Xiflos, a stone. Ijolite occurs in various parts of the Kainuu region of eastern Finland and in the Kola Peninsula of northwest Russia on the shores of the White Sea. Ijolite was first defined and named by Finnish geologist Wilhelm Ramsay.The pyroxene is morphic, yellow or green, and is surrounded by formless areas of nepheline. The accessory minerals are apatite, cancrinite, calcite, titanite and iivaarite, a dark-brown titaniferous variety of melanite-garnet. This rock is the plutonic and holo-crystalline analogue of the nephelinites -volcanic equivalent and nepheline-dolerites; it bears the same relation to them as the nepheline syenites have to the phonolites.

A leucite-augite rock, resembling ijolite except in containing leucite in place of nepheline, is known to occur at Shonkin Creek, near Fort Benton, Montana, and has been called missourite, but is now regarded as a variety of leucitite.


Jeffersonite is a dark green pyroxene mineral, a manganese zinc enriched variety of augite (Ca(Mn,Zn,Fe)Si2O6), sometimes compared to aegirine. Jeffersonite is not a recognized mineral name.

It occurs in pegmatites where it can form crystals up to 30 cm (12 in) long and in the contact metamorphic zone between limestone and various intrusive rocks. It is reported from the Sterling Hill Mine, Franklin, New Jersey, in South Australia and Sweden.


Leucitite or leucite rock is an igneous rock containing leucite. It is scarce, many countries such as England being entirely without them. However, they are of wide distribution, occurring in every quarter of the globe. Taken collectively, they exhibit a considerable variety of types and are of great interest petrographically. For the presence of this mineral it is necessary that the silica percentage of the rock should be low, since leucite is incompatible with free quartz and reacts with it to form potassium feldspar. Because it weathers rapidly, leucite is most common in lavas of recent and Tertiary age, which have a fair amount of potassium, or at any rate have potassium equal to or greater than sodium; if sodium is abundant nepheline occurs rather than leucite.

In pre-Tertiary rocks leucite readily decomposes and changes to zeolites, analcite and other secondary minerals. leucite also is rare in plutonic rocks and dike rocks, but leucite syenite and leucite tinguaite bear witness to the possibility that it may occur in this manner. The rounded shape of its crystals, their white or grey color, and absence of planar cleavage make the presence of leucite easily determinable in many of these rocks by inspection, especially when the crystals are large.

"Pseudoleucites" are rounded areas consisting of feldspar, nepheline, analcite, &c., which have the shape, composition and sometimes even the outward crystalline shape of leucite; they are probably pseudomorphs or paramorphs, which have developed from leucite because this mineral is not stable at ordinary temperatures and can be expected under favorable conditions to undergo spontaneous change into an aggregate of other minerals. leucite is very often accompanied by nepheline, sodalite or nosean; other minerals which make their appearance with some frequency are melanite, garnet and melilite.

The plutonic leucite-bearing rocks are leucite syenite and missourite. Of these the former consists of orthoclase, nepheline, sodalite, diopside and aegirine, biotite and sphene. Two occurrences are known, one in Arkansas, the other in Sutherland, Scotland. The Scottish rock has been called borolanite. Both examples show large rounded spots in the hand specimens; they are pseudoleucites, and under the microscope prove to consist of orthoclase, nepheline, sodalite and decomposition products. These have a radiate arrangement externally, but are of irregular structure at their centres; in both rocks melanite is an important accessory. The missourites are more mafic and consist of leucite, olivine, augite and biotite; the leucite is partly fresh partly altered to analcite, and the rock has a spotted character recalling that of the leucite-syenites. It has been found only in the Highwood Mountains of Montana.

The leucite-hearing dike-rocks are members of the tinguaite and monchiquite groups. The leucite tinguaites are usually pale grey or greenish in color and consist principally of nepheline, alkali feldspar and aegirine. The latter forms bright green moss-like patches and growths of indefinite shape, or in other cases scattered acicular prisms, among the feldspars and nephelines of the ground mass. Where leucite occurs, it is always euhedral in small, equant, many-sided crystals in the ground mass, or in larger masses which have the same characters as the pseudoleucites. Biotite occurs in some of these rocks, and melanite also is present. Nepheline decreases in amount as leucite increases since the abundances of the two reflect the Na:K ratio of the rock. Rocks of this group are known from Rio de Janeiro, Arkansas, Kola Peninsula (in Russia), Montana and a few other places., In Greenland there are leucite tinguaites with much arfvedsonite, (hornblende) and eudialyte. Wherever they occur they accompany leucite- and nepheline syenites. leucite monchiquites are fine-grained dark rocks consisting of olivine, titaniferous augite and iron oxides, with a glassy ground mass in which small rounded crystals of leucite are scattered. They have been described from Czechoslovakia.

By far the greater number of the rocks which contain leucite are lavas of Tertiary or recent geological age. Although these never contain quartz, but feldspar is usually present, though there are certain groups of leucite lavas which are non-feldspathic. Many of them also contain nepheline, sodalite, hauyne and nosean; the much rarer mineral melilite appears also in some examples. The commonest ferromagnesian mineral is augite (sometimes rich in sodium), with olivine in the more basic varieties. Hornblende and biotite occur also, but are less common. Melanite is found in some of the lavas, as in the leucite syenites.

The rocks in which orthoclase (or sanidine) is present in considerable amount are leucite-trachytes, leucite-phonolites and leucitophvres. Of these groups the two former, which are not sharply distinguished from one another by most authors, are common in the neighborhood of Rome. They are of trachytic appearance, containing phenocysts of sanidine, leucite, augite and biotite. Sodalite or hauyne may also be present, but nepheline is typically absent. Rocks of this class occur also in the tuffs of the Phlegraean Fields, near Naples. The leucitophyres are rare rocks which have been described from various parts of the volcanic district of the Rhine (Olbrck. Laacher See, etc.) and from Monte Vulture in Italy. They are rich in leucite, but contain also some sanidine and often much nepheline with hauyne or nosean. Their pyroxene is principally aegirine or aegirine-augite; some of them are rich in melanite. Microscopic sections of some of these rocks are of great interest on account of their beauty and the variety of feldspathoid minerals which they contain. In Brazil leucitophyres have been found which belong to the Carboniferous period.

Those leucite rocks which contain abundant essential plagioclase feldspar are known as leucite tephrites and leucite basanites. The former consist mainly of plagioclase, leucite and augite, while the latter contain olivine in addition. The leucite is often present in two sets of crystals, both porphyritic and as an ingredient of the ground mass. It is always idiomorphic with rounded outlines. The feldspar ranges from bytownite to oligoclase, being usually a variety of labradorite; orthoclase is scarce. The augite varies a good deal in chemnistry and optical character, being green, brown or violet (suggesting high Na and Ti content), but it is rarely high enough in Na and Fe to qualify as aegirine-augite or aegirine. Among the accessory minerals biotite, brown hornblende, hauyne, iron oxides and apatite are the commonest; melanite and nepheline may also occur. The ground mass of these rocks is only occasionally rich in glass. The leucite-tephrites and leucite-basanites of Vesuvius and Somma are familiar examples of this class of rocks. They are black or ashy-grey in color, often vesicular, and may contain many large grey phenocysts of leucite. Their black augite and yellow green olivine are also easily observed in hand specimens. From Volcan Ello, Sardinia and Roccamonfina similar rocks are obtained; they occur also in Bohemia, in Java, Celebes, Kilimanjaro (Africa) and near Trebizond in Asia Minor.

leucite lavas from which feldspar is absent are divided into the leucitites and leucite basalts. The latter contain olivine, the former do not. Pyroxene is the usual ferromagnesian mineral, and resembles that of the tephrites and basanites. Sanidine, melanite, hauyne and perovskite are frequent accessory minerals in these rocks, and many of them contain melilite in some quantity, The well-known leucitite of the Capo di Bove, near, Rome, is rich in this mineral, which forms irregular plates, yellow in the hand specimen, enclosing many small rounded crystals of leucite. Bracciano and Roccamonfina are other Italian localities for leucitite, and in Java, Montana, Celebes and New South Wales similar rocks occur, The leucite basalts belong to more basic types and are rich in olivine and augite. They occur in great numbers in the Rhenish volcanic district (Eifel, Laacher See) and in Bohemia, and accompany tephrites or leucitites in Java, Montana, Celebes and Sardinia. The peperino of the neighborhood of Rome is a leucitite tuff.


Nakhlites are a group of Martian meteorites, named after the first one, Nakhla meteorite.

Nakhlites are igneous rocks that are rich in augite and were formed from basaltic magma about 1.3 billion years ago. They contain augite and olivine crystals. Their crystallization ages, compared to a crater count chronology of different regions on Mars, suggest the nakhlites formed on the large volcanic construct of either Tharsis, Elysium, or Syrtis Major Planum.


Nephelinite is a fine-grained or aphanitic igneous rock made up almost entirely of nepheline and clinopyroxene (variety augite). If olivine is present, the rock may be classified as an olivine nephelinite. Nephelinite is dark in color and may resemble basalt in hand specimen. However, basalt consists mostly of clinopyroxene (augite) and calcic plagioclase.

Basalt, alkali basalt, basanite, tephritic nephelinite, and nephelinite differ partly in the relative proportions of plagioclase and nepheline. Alkali basalt may contain minor nepheline and does contain nepheline in its CIPW normative mineralogy. A critical ratio in the classification of these rocks is the ratio nepheline/(nepheline plus plagioclase). Basanite has a value of this ratio between 0.1 and 0.6 and also contains more than 10% olivine. Tephritic nephelinite has a value between 0.6 and 0.9. Nephelinite has a value greater than 0.9. Le Maitre (2002) defines and discusses these and other criteria in the classification of igneous rocks.

Nephelinite is an example of a silica-undersaturated igneous rock. The degree of silica saturation can be evaluated with normative mineralogy calculated from chemical analyses, or with actual mineralogy for completely crystallized igneous rocks with equilibrated assemblages. Silica-oversaturated rocks contain quartz (or another silica polymorph). Silica-undersaturated mafic igneous rocks contain magnesian olivine but not magnesian orthopyroxene, and/or a feldspathoid. Silica-saturated igneous rocks fall in between these two classes.

Silica-undersaturated, mafic igneous rocks are much less abundant than silica-saturated and oversaturated basalts. Genesis of the less common mafic rocks such as nephelinite is usually ascribed to more than one of the following three causes:

relatively high pressure of melting;

relatively low degree of fractional melting in a mantle source;

relatively high dissolved carbon dioxide in the melt.Nephelinites and similar rocks typically contain relatively high concentrations of elements such as the light rare earths, as consistent with a low degree of melting of mantle peridotite at depths sufficient to stabilize garnet. Nephelinites are also associated with carbonatite in some occurrences, consistent with source rocks relatively rich in carbon dioxide.

Nephelinite is found on ocean islands such as Oahu, although the rock type is very rare in the Hawaiian islands. It is found in a variety of continental settings. An example is the Hamada nephelinite lava flow in southwest Japan which occurred in the late Miocene age. Nephelinite is also associated with the highly alkalic volcanism of the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcanic field in Tanzania. Nyiragongo, another African volcano known for its semipermanent lava lake activity, erupts lava made of melilite nephelinite. The unusual chemical makeup of this igneous rock may be a factor in the unusual fluidity of its lavas.

Olivine nephelinite flows also occur in the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field in east-central British Columbia and at Volcano Mountain in central Yukon Territory. Melilite olivine nephelinite intrusives of Cretaceous age are found in the area around Uvalde, Texas.


Omphacite is a member of the pyroxene group of silicate minerals with formula: (Ca, Na)(Mg, Fe2+, Al)Si2O6. It is a variably deep to pale green or nearly colorless variety of pyroxene. Omphacite compositions are intermediate between calcium-rich augite and sodium-rich jadeite. It crystallizes in the monoclinic system with prismatic, typically twinned forms, though usually anhedral. Its space group (P2/n) is distinct from that of augite and jadeite (C2/c). It exhibits the typical near 90° pyroxene cleavage. It is brittle with specific gravity of 3.29 to 3.39 and a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6.

It is a major mineral component of eclogite along with pyrope garnet and also occurs in blueschist facies and UHP (ultrahigh-pressure) metamorphic rocks. It also occurs in eclogite xenoliths from kimberlite as well as in crustal rocks metamorphosed at high pressures. Associated minerals in eclogites include garnet, quartz or coesite, rutile, kyanite, phengite, and lawsonite. Minerals such as glaucophane, lawsonite, titanite, and epidote occur with omphacite in blueschist facies metamorphic rocks. The name "jade," usually referring to rocks made of jadeite, is sometimes also applied to rocks consisting entirely of omphacite.

The name "omphacite" has been applied to compositions that contain between 20% and 80% jadeite. The stability of intermediate compositions between augite and jadeite is not well understood, but miscibility gaps appear to be present at temperatures below 300 °C to 400 °C, and perhaps at higher temperatures. Pairs of pyroxenes -- both augite plus omphacite and omphacite plus jadeite -- appear to have existed in equilibrium at low temperatures.It was first described in 1815 in the Münchberg Metamorphic complex, Franconia, Bavaria, Germany. The name omphacite derives from the Greek omphax or unripe grape for the typical green color.

Picrite basalt

Picrite basalt, picrobasalt is a variety of high-magnesium olivine basalt that is very rich in the mineral olivine. It is dark with yellow-green olivine phenocrysts (20 to 50%) and black to dark brown pyroxene, mostly augite.

The olivine-rich picrite basalts that occur with the more common tholeiitic basalts of Kīlauea and other volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands are the result of accumulation of olivine crystals either in a portion of the magma chamber or in a caldera lava lake.[1] The compositions of these rocks are well represented by mixes of olivine and more typical tholeiitic basalt.

The name “picrite” can also be applied to an olivine-rich alkali basalt: such picrite consists largely of phenocrysts of olivine and titanium-rich augite pyroxene with minor plagioclase set in a groundmass of augite and more sodic plagioclase and perhaps analcite and biotite.

Picrites and komatiites are somewhat similar chemically, but differ in that komatiite lavas are products of more magnesium-rich melts, and good examples exhibit the spinifex texture.[2] In contrast, picrites are magnesium-rich because crystals of olivine have accumulated in more normal melts by magmatic processes. Komatiites are largely restricted to the Archean.

When the term oceanite was apparently first proposed by Antoine Lacroix, he used the term to apply only to basalts with more than 50% olivine content (an extremely rare occurrence). Picrite basalt is found in the lavas of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in Hawaiʻi[3], Curaçao, in the Piton de la Fournaise[4] volcano on Réunion Island and various other oceanic island volcanoes.

Picrite basalt has been erupted in historical times from Mauna Loa during the eruptions of 1852 and 1868 (from different flanks of Mauna Loa)[5].

Picrite basalt with 30% olivine commonly erupts from the Piton de la Fournaise. [6]


Pigeonite is a mineral in the clinopyroxene subgroup of the pyroxene group. It has a general formula of (Ca,Mg,Fe)(Mg,Fe)Si2O6. The calcium cation fraction can vary from 5% to 25%, with iron and magnesium making up the rest of the cations.

Pigeonite crystallizes in the monoclinic system, as does augite, and a miscibility gap exists between the two minerals. At lower temperatures, pigeonite is unstable relative to augite plus orthopyroxene. The low-temperature limit of pigeonite stability depends upon the Fe/Mg ratio in the mineral and is hotter for more Mg-rich compositions; for a Fe/Mg ratio of about 1, the temperature is about 900 °C. The presence of pigeonite in an igneous rock thus provides evidence for the crystallization temperature of the magma, and hence indirectly for the water content of that magma.

Pigeonite is found as phenocrysts in volcanic rocks on Earth and as crystals in meteorites from Mars and the Moon. In slowly cooled intrusive igneous rocks, pigeonite is rarely preserved. Slow cooling gives the calcium the necessary time to separate itself from the structure to form exsolution lamellae of calcic clinopyroxene, leaving no pigeonite present. Textural evidence of its breakdown to orthopyroxene plus augite may be present, as shown in the accompanying microscopic image.

Pigeonite is named for its type locality on Lake Superior's shores at Pigeon Point, Minnesota, United States. It was first described in 1900.


The pyroxenes (commonly abbreviated to Px) are a group of important rock-forming inosilicate minerals found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. Pyroxenes have the general formula XY(Si,Al)2O6, where X represents calcium, sodium, iron (II) or magnesium and more rarely zinc, manganese or lithium, and Y represents ions of smaller size, such as chromium, aluminium, iron (III), magnesium, cobalt, manganese, scandium, titanium, vanadium or even iron (II). Although aluminium substitutes extensively for silicon in silicates such as feldspars and amphiboles, the substitution occurs only to a limited extent in most pyroxenes. They share a common structure consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra. Pyroxenes that crystallize in the monoclinic system are known as clinopyroxenes and those that crystallize in the orthorhombic system are known as orthopyroxenes.

The name pyroxene is derived from the Ancient Greek words for fire (πυρ) and stranger (ξένος). Pyroxenes were so named because of their presence in volcanic lavas, where they are sometimes seen as crystals embedded in volcanic glass; it was assumed they were impurities in the glass, hence the name "fire strangers". However, they are simply early-forming minerals that crystallized before the lava erupted.

The upper mantle of Earth is composed mainly of olivine and pyroxene. Pyroxene and feldspar are the major minerals in basalt and gabbro.


Pyroxenite is an ultramafic igneous rock consisting essentially of minerals of the pyroxene group, such as augite, diopside, hypersthene, bronzite or enstatite. Pyroxenites are classified into clinopyroxenites, orthopyroxenites, and the websterites which contain both types of pyroxenes (see diagram below). Closely allied to this group are the hornblendites, consisting essentially of hornblende and other amphiboles.

They are essentially of igneous origin, though some pyroxenites are included in the metamorphic Lewisian complex of Scotland. The pyroxene-rich rocks, which result from the type of contact metamorphism known as pyroxene-hornfels facies, have siliceous sediment or basaltic protoliths, and are respectively metapelites and metabasites.


Trachyte is an igneous volcanic rock with an aphanitic to porphyritic texture. It is the volcanic equivalent of syenite. The mineral assemblage consists of essential alkali feldspar; relatively minor plagioclase and quartz or a feldspathoid such as nepheline may also be present. (See the QAPF diagram). Biotite, clinopyroxene and olivine are common accessory minerals.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.