Last updated
Dacite from the Western Carpathians Mineraly.sk - dacit.jpg
Dacite from the Western Carpathians

Dacite ( /ˈdst/ ) is a volcanic rock formed by rapid solidification of lava that is high in silica and low in alkali metal oxides. It has a fine-grained (aphanitic) to porphyritic texture and is intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite. It is composed predominantly of plagioclase feldspar and quartz.


Dacite is relatively common, occurring in many tectonic settings. It is associated with andesite and rhyolite as part of the subalkaline tholeiitic and calc-alkaline magma series.


Aphanitic QAPF diagram denoting dacite Dacite-AphaniticQAPF.gif
Aphanitic QAPF diagram denoting dacite
TAS diagram with the dacite (O3) field highlighted in yellow TAS-Diagramm-dacite.png
TAS diagram with the dacite (O3) field highlighted in yellow

Dacite consists mostly of plagioclase feldspar and quartz with biotite, hornblende, and pyroxene (augite or enstatite). The quartz appears as rounded, corroded phenocrysts, or as an element of the ground-mass. [1] The plagioclase in dacite ranges from oligoclase to andesine and labradorite. Sanidine occurs, although in small proportions, in some dacites, and when abundant gives rise to rocks that form transitions to the rhyolites. [2]

The relative proportions of feldspars and quartz in dacite, and in many other volcanic rocks, are illustrated in the QAPF diagram. This defines dacite as having a content of 20% to 60% quartz, with plagioclase making up 65% or more of its feldspar content. [3] [4] [5] [6] However, while the IUGS recommends classifying volcanic rocks on the basis of their mineral composition whenever possible, dacites are often so fine-grained that mineral identification is impractical. The rock must then be classified chemically based on its content of silica and alkali metal oxides (K2O plus Na2O). The TAS classification puts dacite in the O3 sector.


Grey, red, black, altered white/tan, flow-banded pumice dacite Different types of dacite-1200px.JPG
Grey, red, black, altered white/tan, flow-banded pumice dacite

In hand specimen, many of the hornblende and biotite dacites are grey or pale brown and yellow rocks with white feldspars, and black crystals of biotite and hornblende. Other dacites, especially pyroxene-bearing dacites, are darker colored. [2]

In thin section, dacites may have an aphanitic to porphyritic texture. Porphyritic dacites contain blocky highly zoned plagioclase phenocrysts and/or rounded corroded quartz phenocrysts. Subhedral hornblende and elongated biotite grains are present. Sanidine phenocrysts and augite (or enstatite) are found in some samples. The groundmass of these rocks is often aphanitic microcrystalline, with a web of minute feldspars mixed with interstitial grains of quartz or tridymite; but in many dacites it is largely vitreous, while in others it is felsitic or cryptocrystalline.

Geological context and formation

Thin section of a porphyritic dacite from Mount St. Helens Dacite-ThinSection-USGS.jpg
Thin section of a porphyritic dacite from Mount St. Helens

Dacite usually forms as an intrusive rock such as a dike or sill. Examples of this type of dacite outcrop are found in northwestern Montana and northeastern Bulgaria. Nevertheless, because of the moderately high silica content, dacitic magma is quite viscous [7] and therefore prone to explosive eruption. A notorious example of this is Mount St. Helens in which dacite domes formed from previous eruptions. Pyroclastic flows may also be of dacitic composition as is the case with the Fish Canyon Tuff of La Garita Caldera. [8]

Dacitic magma is formed by the subduction of young oceanic crust under a thick felsic continental plate. Oceanic crust is hydrothermally altered causing addition of quartz and sodium. [9] As the young, hot oceanic plate is subducted under continental crust, the subducted slab partially melts and interacts with the upper mantle through convection and dehydration reactions. [10] The process of subduction creates metamorphism in the subducting slab. When this slab reaches the mantle and initiates the dehydration reactions, minerals such as talc, serpentine, mica and amphiboles break down generating a more sodic melt. [11] The magma then continues to migrate upwards causing differentiation and becomes even more sodic and silicic as it rises. Once at the cold surface, the sodium rich magma crystallizes plagioclase, quartz and hornblende. [12] Accessory minerals like pyroxenes provide insight to the history of the magma.

The formation of dacite provides a great deal of information about the connection between oceanic crust and continental crust. It provides a model for the generation of felsic, buoyant, perennial rock from a mafic, dense, short-lived one.

Dacite's role in the creation of Archean continental crust

The process by which dacite forms has been used to explain the generation of continental crust during the Archean eon. At that time, the production of dacitic magma was more ubiquitous, due to the availability of young, hot oceanic crust. Today, the colder oceanic crust that subducts under most plates is not able to melt prior to the dehydration reactions, thus inhibiting the process. [13]

Molten dacite magma at Kīlauea

Dacitic magma was encountered in a drillhole during geothermal exploration on Kīlauea in 2005. At a depth of 2488 m, the magma flowed up the wellbore. This produced several kilograms of clear, colorless vitric (glassy, non-crystalline) cuttings at the surface. The dacite magma is a residual melt of the typical basalt magma of Kīlauea. [14]


Dacite is relatively common and occurs in various tectonic and magmatic contexts:

The type locality of dacite is Gizella quarry near Poieni, Cluj in Romania. [18] Other occurrences of dacite in Europe are Germany (Weiselberg), Greece (Nisyros and Thera), Italy (in Bozen quartz porphyry, and Sardinia), Austria (Styrian Volcano Arc), Scotland (Argyll), [19] Slovakia, Spain (El Hoyazo near Almería), [20] France (Massif de l'Esterel) [21] and Hungary (Csódi Hill). [22]

Sites outside Europe include Iran, Morocco, New Zealand (volcanic region of Taupo), Turkey, USA and Zambia.[ citation needed ]

Dacite is found extraterrestrially at Nili Patera caldera of Syrtis Major Planum on Mars. [23]


The word dacite comes from Dacia, a province of the Roman Empire which lay between the Danube River and Carpathian Mountains (now modern Romania and Moldova) where the rock was first described. [18]

The term dacite was used for the first time in the scientific literature in the book "Geologie Siebenbürgens" ("The Geology of Transylvania") by Austrian geologists Franz Ritter von Hauer and Guido Stache. [18] [24] Dacite was originally defined as a new rock type to separate calc-alkaline rocks with oligoclase phenocrysts (dacites) from rocks with orthoclase phenocrysts (rhyolites). [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

In geology, felsic is a modifier describing igneous rocks that are relatively rich in elements that form feldspar and quartz. It is contrasted with mafic rocks, which are relatively richer in magnesium and iron. Felsic refers to silicate minerals, magma, and rocks which are enriched in the lighter elements such as silicon, oxygen, aluminium, sodium, and potassium. Felsic magma or lava is higher in viscosity than mafic magma/lava.

Granite Common type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock with granular structure

Granite is a coarse-grained (phaneritic) intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cools and solidifies underground. It is common in the continental crust of Earth, where it is found in igneous intrusions. These range in size from dikes only a few centimeters across to batholiths exposed over hundreds of square kilometers.

Gabbro Coarse-grained mafic intrusive rock

Gabbro is a phaneritic (coarse-grained), mafic intrusive igneous rock formed from the slow cooling of magnesium-rich and iron-rich magma into a holocrystalline mass deep beneath the Earth's surface. Slow-cooling, coarse-grained gabbro is chemically equivalent to rapid-cooling, fine-grained basalt. Much of the Earth's oceanic crust is made of gabbro, formed at mid-ocean ridges. Gabbro is also found as plutons associated with continental volcanism. Due to its variant nature, the term gabbro may be applied loosely to a wide range of intrusive rocks, many of which are merely "gabbroic". By rough analogy, gabbro is to basalt as granite is to rhyolite.

Rhyolite Igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic (silica-rich) composition

Rhyolite is the most silica-rich of volcanic rocks. It is generally glassy or fine-grained (aphanitic) in texture, but may be porphyritic, containing larger mineral crystals (phenocrysts) in an otherwise fine-grained groundmass. The mineral assemblage is predominantly quartz, sanidine, and plagioclase. It is the extrusive equivalent to granite.

Trachyte Extrusive igneous rock

Trachyte is an extrusive igneous rock composed mostly of alkali feldspar. It is usually light-colored and aphanitic (fine-grained), with minor amounts of mafic minerals, and is formed by the rapid cooling of lava enriched with silica and alkali metals. It is the volcanic equivalent of syenite.

Latite Type of volcanic rock

Latite is an igneous, volcanic rock, with aphanitic-aphyric to aphyric-porphyritic texture. Its mineral assemblage is usually alkali feldspar and plagioclase in approximately equal amounts. Quartz is less than five percent and is absent in a feldspathoid-bearing latite, and olivine is absent in a quartz-bearing latite. When quartz content is greater than five percent the rock is classified as quartz latite. Biotite, hornblende, pyroxene and scarce olivine or quartz are common accessory minerals. Feldspathoid-bearing latite is sometimes referred to as tristanite.

Andesite Type of volcanic rock

Andesite is a volcanic rock of intermediate composition. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between silica-poor basalt and silica-rich rhyolite. It is fine-grained (aphanitic) to porphyritic in texture, and is composed predominantly of sodium-rich plagioclase plus pyroxene or hornblende.

Basanite A silica-undersaturated basalt

Basanite is an igneous, volcanic (extrusive) rock with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. It is composed mostly of feldspathoids, pyroxenes, olivine, and plagioclase and forms from magma low in silica and enriched in alkali metal oxides that solidifies rapidly close to the Earth's surface.

Aphanite Igneous rock composed of very small crystals invisible to the naked eye

Aphanites are igneous rocks that are so fine-grained that their component mineral crystals are not visible to the naked eye. This geological texture results from rapid cooling in volcanic or hypabyssal environments. As a rule, the texture of these rocks is not the same as that of volcanic glass, with volcanic glass being non-crystalline (amorphous), and having a glass-like appearance.

Extrusive rock Mode of igneous volcanic rock formation

Extrusive rock refers to the mode of igneous volcanic rock formation in which hot magma from inside the Earth flows out (extrudes) onto the surface as lava or explodes violently into the atmosphere to fall back as pyroclastics or tuff. In contrast, intrusive rock refers to rocks formed by magma which cools below the surface.

Volcanic rock Rock formed from lava erupted from a volcano

Volcanic rock is a rock formed from lava erupted from a volcano. In other words, it differs from other igneous rock by being of volcanic origin. Like all rock types, the concept of volcanic rock is artificial, and in nature volcanic rocks grade into hypabyssal and metamorphic rocks and constitute an important element of some sediments and sedimentary rocks. For these reasons, in geology, volcanics and shallow hypabyssal rocks are not always treated as distinct. In the context of Precambrian shield geology, the term "volcanic" is often applied to what are strictly metavolcanic rocks. Volcanic rocks and sediment that form from magma erupted into the air are called "volcaniclastics," and these are technically sedimentary rocks.

Granitoid Category of coarse-grained igneous rocks

A granitoid is a generic term for a diverse category of coarse-grained igneous rocks that consist predominantly of quartz, plagioclase, and alkali feldspar. Granitoids range from plagioclase-rich tonalites to alkali-rich syenites and from quartz-poor monzonites to quartz-rich quartzolites. As only two of the three defining mineral groups need to be present for the rock to be called a granitoid, foid-bearing rocks, which predominantly contain feldspars but no quartz, are also granitoids. The terms granite and granitic rock are often used interchangeably for granitoids; however, granite is just one particular type of granitoid.

Lamprophyre Ultrapotassic igneous rocks

Lamprophyres are uncommon, small-volume ultrapotassic igneous rocks primarily occurring as dikes, lopoliths, laccoliths, stocks, and small intrusions. They are alkaline silica-undersaturated mafic or ultramafic rocks with high magnesium oxide, >3% potassium oxide, high sodium oxide, and high nickel and chromium.

Rhyodacite Volcanic rock rich in silica and low in alkali metal oxides

Rhyodacite is a volcanic rock intermediate in composition between dacite and rhyolite. It is the extrusive equivalent of those plutonic rocks that are intermediate in composition between monzogranite and granodiorite. Rhyodacites form from rapid cooling of lava relatively rich in silica and low in alkali metal oxides.

Rock cycle Transitional concept of geologic time

The rock cycle is a basic concept in geology that describes transitions through geologic time among the three main rock types: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Each rock type is altered when it is forced out of its equilibrium conditions. For example, an igneous rock such as basalt may break down and dissolve when exposed to the atmosphere, or melt as it is subducted under a continent. Due to the driving forces of the rock cycle, plate tectonics and the water cycle, rocks do not remain in equilibrium and change as they encounter new environments. The rock cycle explains how the three rock types are related to each other, and how processes change from one type to another over time. This cyclical aspect makes rock change a geologic cycle and, on planets containing life, a biogeochemical cycle.

Igneous rock Rock formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava

Igneous rock, or magmatic rock, is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava.

Subduction zone metamorphism Changes of rock due to pressure and heat near a subduction zone

A subduction zone is a region of the earth's crust where one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate; oceanic crust gets recycled back into the mantle and continental crust gets created by the formation of arc magmas. Arc magmas account for more than 20% of terrestrially produced magmas and are produced by the dehydration of minerals within the subducting slab as it descends into the mantle and are accreted onto the base of the overriding continental plate. Subduction zones host a unique variety of rock types created by the high-pressure, low-temperature conditions a subducting slab encounters during its descent. The metamorphic conditions the slab passes through in this process creates and destroys water bearing (hydrous) mineral phases, releasing water into the mantle. This water lowers the melting point of mantle rock, initiating melting. Understanding the timing and conditions in which these dehydration reactions occur, is key to interpreting mantle melting, volcanic arc magmatism, and the formation of continental crust.

A continental arc is a type of volcanic arc occurring as an "arc-shape" topographic high region along a continental margin. The continental arc is formed at an active continental margin where two tectonic plates meet, and where one plate has continental crust and the other oceanic crust along the line of plate convergence, and a subduction zone develops. The magmatism and petrogenesis of continental crust are complicated: in essence, continental arcs reflect a mixture of oceanic crust materials, mantle wedge and continental crust materials.

Tonalite–trondhjemite–granodiorite Intrusive rocks with typical granitic composition

Tonalite–trondhjemite–granodiorite (TTG) rocks are intrusive rocks with typical granitic composition but containing only a small portion of potassium feldspar. Tonalite, trondhjemite, and granodiorite often occur together in geological records, indicating similar petrogenetic processes. Post Archean TTG rocks are present in arc-related batholiths, as well as in ophiolites, while Archean TTG rocks are major components of Archean cratons.

Polvadera Group A group of geologic formations in New Mexico

The Polvadera Group is a group of geologic formations exposed in and around the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. Radiometric dating gives it an age of 13 to 2.2 million years, corresponding to the Miocene through early Quaternary.


  1. Troll, Valentin R.; Donaldson, Colin H.; Emeleus, C. Henry. (2004-08-01). "Pre-eruptive magma mixing in ash-flow deposits of the Tertiary Rum Igneous Centre, Scotland". Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology. 147 (6): 722–739. Bibcode:2004CoMP..147..722T. doi:10.1007/s00410-004-0584-0. ISSN   1432-0967. S2CID   128532728.
  2. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Flett, John Smith (1911). "Dacite". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 728.
  3. Le Bas, M. J.; Streckeisen, A. L. (1991). "The IUGS systematics of igneous rocks". Journal of the Geological Society. 148 (5): 825–833. Bibcode:1991JGSoc.148..825L. CiteSeerX . doi:10.1144/gsjgs.148.5.0825. S2CID   28548230.
  4. "Rock Classification Scheme - Vol 1 - Igneous" (PDF). British Geological Survey: Rock Classification Scheme. 1: 1–52. 1999.
  5. "Classification of igneous rocks". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011.
  6. Philpotts, Anthony R.; Ague, Jay J. (2009). Principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 139–143. ISBN   9780521880060.
  7. Whittington, A. G.; Hellwig, B. M.; Behrens, H.; Joachim, B.; Stechern, A.; Vetere, F. (2009). "The viscosity of hydrous dacitic liquids: implications for the rheology of evolving silicic magmas". Bulletin of Volcanology. 71 (2): 185–199. Bibcode:2009BVol...71..185W. doi:10.1007/s00445-008-0217-y. S2CID   129314125.
  8. "Outflow ignimbrite sheet of Fish Canyon Tuff: crystal-rich dacitic ignimbrite erupted from La Garita caldera" (PDF). USGS . Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  9. Devore, G. W. (1983). "The influence of submarine weathering of basalts on their partial melting during subduction". Lithos . 16 (3): 203–213. Bibcode:1983Litho..16..203D. doi:10.1016/0024-4937(83)90024-5.
  10. Drummond, M. S.; Defant, M. J. (1990). "A model for Trondhjemite-Tonalite-Dacite Genesis and crustal growth via slab melting: Archean to modern comparisons". Journal of Geophysical Research. 95 (B13): 21503–21521. Bibcode:1990JGR....9521503D. doi:10.1029/JB095iB13p21503.
  11. Fyfe, W.; McBirney, A. (1975). "Subduction and the structure of andesitic volcanic belts". American Journal of Science. 275-A: 285–297.
  12. Defant, M. J.; Richerson, P. M.; de Boer, J. Z.; Stewart, R. H.; Maury, R. C.; Bellon, H.; Drummond, M. S.; Feigenson, M. D.; Jackson, T. E. (1991). "Dacite Genesis via both Slab Melting and Differentiation: Petrogenesis of La Yeguada Volcanic Complex, Panama". Journal of Petrology. 32 (6): 1101–1142. Bibcode:1991JPet...32.1101D. doi:10.1093/petrology/32.6.1101.
  13. Atherton, M. P.; Petford, N. (1993). "Generation of sodium-rich magmas from newly underplated basaltic crust". Nature. 362 (6416): 144–146. Bibcode:1993Natur.362..144A. doi:10.1038/362144a0. S2CID   4342740.
  14. Puna Dacite Magma at Kilauea: Unexpected Drilling Into an Active Magma Posters, 2008 Eos Trans. AGU, 89(53), Fall Meeting
  15. Mancini, A.; Mattsson, H.B.; Bachmann, O. (2015). "Origin of the compositional diversity in the basalt-to-dacite series erupted along the Heiðarsporður ridge, NE Iceland". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 301: 116–127. Bibcode:2015JVGR..301..116M. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.05.010.
  16. Perfit, M.R.; Schmitt, A.K.; Ridley, W.I.; Rubin, K.H.; Valley, J.W. (2008). "Petrogenesis of dacites from the southern Juan de Fuca Ridge". Goldschmidt Conference Abstracts 2008. Goldschmidt Conference 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  17. Wheller, Graeme Eric (1986). Petrogenesis of Batur caldera, Bali, and the geochemistry of Sunda-Banda arc basalts (phd). PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.
  18. 1 2 3 4 Ştefan, Avram; Szakács, Alexandru; Seghedi, loan (June 1996). Dacite from type locality: Genealogy and description (PDF). Geological Survey of Romania. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  19. Ellis, R. A.; et al. (1977). lnvestigation of disseminated copper mineralisation near Kilmelford, Argyllshire, Scotland (Mineral Reconnaissance Programme Report 9) (PDF). London: Institute of Geological Sciences.
  20. Acosta-Vigil, Antonio; Buick, Ian; Cesare, Bernardo; London, David; Morgan, VI, George B. (2012). "The Extent of Equilibration between Melt and Residuum during Regional Anatexis and its Implications for Differentiation of the Continental Crust: a Study of Partially Melted Metapelitic Enclaves". Journal of Petrology. 53 (7): 1319–1356. Bibcode:2012JPet...53.1319A. doi: 10.1093/petrology/egs018 .
  21. Thomas, Pierre (May 2016). "Dacite (Esterellite)". Observer les objets géologiques (in French). Lithothèque ENS de Lyon. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  22. "Dacite" (PDF). Hungarian Natural History Museum. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  23. "Nili Patera and Dacite Lava Flow". Mars Exploration – Multimedia. NASA. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  24. Ritter von Hauer, Franz; Stache, Guido (1863). Geologie Siebenbürgens (in German). Vienna: Wilhelm Brauchmüller. p. 72. v. Richthofen's Namen gleichfalls ganz fallen zu lassen, dafür liegt wol nicht derselbe Grund vor. Dass die Oligoklasgruppe der "Quarztrachyte", dies muss der Name für die ganze Reihe bleiben, von der Orthoklasgruppe oder den "Rhyoliten" getrennt werden müsse, dafür plaidirte Roth gleichfalls schon in seiner Arbeit. Unser Nachweis der Altersverschiedenheit spricht nur um so dringender dafür. Für den Geologen genügen vielleicht die Namen "jüngerer" und "älterer" Quarztrachyt. Soll jedoch entsprechend der Sonderbezeichnung für die jüngere Gruppe, auch für die ältere Gruppe der Quarztrachyte ein besonderer Name eingeführt werden, so möchte der Name "Dacit" vielleicht entsprechend sein, da die Gruppe im alten Dacien eine besonders hervorragende Rolle zu spielen scheint).