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Dacite from Western Carpathians. Mineraly.sk - dacit.jpg
Dacite from Western Carpathians.

Dacite ( /ˈdst/ ) is an igneous, volcanic rock. It has an aphanitic to porphyritic texture and is intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite. 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.



Aphanitic QAPF diagram denoting dacite. Dacite-AphaniticQAPF.gif
Aphanitic QAPF diagram denoting dacite.

Dacite consists mostly of plagioclase feldspar with biotite, hornblende, and pyroxene (augite and/or enstatite). It has quartz as some rounded, corroded phenocrysts, or as an element of the ground-mass. [1] The relative proportions of feldspars and quartz in dacite, and in many other volcanic rocks, are illustrated in the QAPF diagram. The TAS classification, based on silica and alkali contents, puts dacite in the O3 sector. The plagioclase 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.

The groundmass of these rocks is composed of plagioclase and quartz.


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. [1]

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 [2] 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. [3]

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. [4] 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. [5] 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. [6] 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. [7] 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. [8]

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. [9]


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

Sites of dacite in Europe are Germany (Weiselberg in the Saarland), Greece (Nisyros and Thera), Italy (in Bozen quartz porphyry, and Sardinia), Austria (Styrian Volcano Arc), Romania (Transylvania), Scotland (Argyll), [13] Slovakia, Spain (El Hoyazo near Almería), [14] France (Massif de l'Esterel) [15] and Hungary (Csódi Hill). [16]

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. [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

In geology, felsic refers to 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.

Trachyte igneous rock

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.. Biotite, clinopyroxene and olivine are common accessory minerals.

Latite igneous 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.

Andesite An intermediate volcanic rock

Andesite ( or ) is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and rhyolite, and ranges from 57 to 63% silicon dioxide (SiO2) as illustrated in TAS diagrams. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene or hornblende. Magnetite, zircon, apatite, ilmenite, biotite, and garnet are common accessory minerals. Alkali feldspar may be present in minor amounts. The quartz-feldspar abundances in andesite and other volcanic rocks are illustrated in QAPF diagrams.

Aphanite Igneous rocks which are so fine-grained that their component mineral crystals are not detectable by the unaided eye

Aphanite, or aphanitic as an adjective, is a name given to certain igneous rocks that are so fine-grained that their component mineral crystals are not detectable by the unaided 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

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 magma cools below the surface.

Volcanic rock Volcanic rocks composing or associated with volcanoes, volcanic activity or volcanism

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.

Granulite A class of high-grade medium to coarse grained metamorphic rocks

Granulites are a class of high-grade metamorphic rocks of the granulite facies that have experienced high-temperature and moderate-pressure metamorphism. They are medium to coarse–grained and mainly composed of feldspars sometimes associated with quartz and anhydrous ferromagnesian minerals, with granoblastic texture and gneissose to massive structure. They are of particular interest to geologists because many granulites represent samples of the deep continental crust. Some granulites experienced decompression from deep in the Earth to shallower crustal levels at high temperature; others cooled while remaining at depth in the Earth.

Lamprophyre igneous rock

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

Rhyodacite is an extrusive volcanic rock intermediate in composition between dacite and rhyolite. It is the extrusive equivalent of granodiorite. Phenocrysts of sodium-rich plagioclase, sanidine, quartz, and biotite or hornblende are typically set in an aphanitic to glassy light to intermediate-colored matrix.
Rhyodacite is a high silica rock containing 20% to 60% quartz with the remaining constituents being mostly feldspar. The feldspar is a mix of alkaline feldspar and plagioclase, with plagioclase forming 35% to 65% of the mix. Rhyodacite often exists as explosive pyroclastic volcanic deposits.

Rock cycle Transitions through geologic time among the three main rock types: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous

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.

Haddington Island (British Columbia)

Haddington Island is a small volcanic island in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located south of Malcolm Island and Broughton Strait. It is located in the Mount Waddington Regional District.

Alkali basalt

Alkali basalt or alkali olivine basalt is a dark-colored, porphyritic volcanic rock usually found in oceanic and continental areas associated with volcanic activity, such as oceanic islands, continental rifts and volcanic fields. Alkali basalt is characterized by relatively high alkali (Na2O and K2O) content relative to other basalts and by the presence of olivine and titanium-rich augite in its groundmass and phenocrysts, and nepheline in its CIPW norm.

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. The magma can be derived from partial melts of existing rocks in either a planet's mantle or crust. Typically, the melting is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition. Solidification into rock occurs either below the surface as intrusive rocks or on the surface as extrusive rocks. Igneous rock may form with crystallization to form granular, crystalline rocks, or without crystallization to form natural glasses. Igneous rocks occur in a wide range of geological settings: shields, platforms, orogens, basins, large igneous provinces, extended crust and oceanic crust.

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.

Aguiliri is a lava dome complex in the Andes. It lies near Jama at the Chile-Argentina border in the Jujuy Province. It is part of the Argentine Puna and the Jama stratovolcano lies 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west.

S-type granites are a category of granites first proposed by Chappell & White. They are recognized by a specific set of mineralogical, geochemical, textural, and isotopic characteristics. S-type granites are over-saturated in aluminium, with an ASI index greater than 1.1 where ASI = Al2O3 / (CaO + Na2O +K2O) in mol percent; petrographic features are representative of the chemical composition of the initial magma as originally put forth by Chappell and White are summarized in their table 1.


Tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite rocks or 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.

I-type granites are a category of granites originating from igneous sources, first proposed by Chappell and White (1974). They are recognized by a specific set of mineralogical, geochemical, textural, and isotopic characteristics. I-type granites are saturated in silica but undersaturated in aluminum; petrographic features are representative of the chemical composition of the initial magma. In contrast S-type granites are derived from partial melting of supracrustal or "sedimentary" source rocks.


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