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The following quote from The Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology by Tarbuck & Lutgens, pp.55-57, (1987), gives us an idea of the tremendous complexity of the processes that occur when magma solidifies.Evidence of this type led them to look into the possibility that a single magma might produce rocks of varying mineral content. Bowen discovered that as magma cools in the laboratory, certain minerals crystallize first.A pioneering investigation into the crystallization of magma was carried out by N. At successively lower temperature, other minerals begin to crystallize as shown in Figure 3.6.Such processes can cause the daughter product to be enriched relative to the parent, which would make the rock look older, or cause the parent to be enriched relative to the daughter, which would make the rock look younger.

But even if it is true that older radiometric dates are found lower down in the geologic column, which is open to question, this can potentially be explained by processes occurring in magma chambers which cause the lava erupting earlier to appear older than the lava erupting later.

During the last stage of crystallization, after most of the magma has solidified, the remaining melt will form the minerals quartz, muscovite mica, and potassium feldspar.

Although these minerals crystallize in the order shown, this sequence is not a true reaction series.

This left branch is called a discontinuous reaction series because each mineral has a different crystalline structure.

Recall that olivine is composed of a single tetrahedra and that the other minerals in this sequence are composed of single chains, double chains, and sheet structures, respectively.

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