Q:

What is the difference between basalt and granite?

A:

Quick Answer

Granite is an intrusive rock with few contaminants, while basalt is an extrusive rock with many contaminants. Granite is the principal component of the continental crust, while basalt is the principal component of the oceanic crust.

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Full Answer

Granite is an intrusive rock that is formed when magma cools inside the crust. This slow cooling gives time for crystals to grow, making it more coarsely grained than an extrusive rock. This coarse grain makes granite a favorite of rock climbers. Basalt, on the other hand, has a smooth texture from rapid cooling, usually by water.

Granite is a felsic rock, meaning that it has a high silicon content; it is mostly made out of quartz, mica and feldspar. Basalt, as a mafic rock, contains more calcium oxide, manganese oxide and iron compounds than granite. Its high iron content gives it magnetic properties, and it may show signs of rust when exposed to air. These impurities make it roughly 10 percent heavier than granite.

Because it cools quickly, basalt is often found in formations where granite is not. While granite often takes the form of monoliths or boulders, basalt is often found in roughly hexagonal columns. These columns are created from the shock of cooling, as cracks propagate through the material.

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Related Questions

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    What is granite used for?

    A:

    Granite is one of the strongest, most durable and attractive stones, making it versatile and favorable for various architectural and artistic applications. Granite stone is used in monuments, paving, bridges, buildings and several other exterior projects. In interior projects, polished granite tiles and slabs are used for stair treads, tile floors and countertops.

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    What type of rock is granite?

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    What are granite and gabbro?

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    A:

    Granite is an igneous rock, not a metamorphic rock. It is the most predominant type of igneous rock on the surface of the earth.

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