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Join date : 2010-10-10

PostSubject: Peridotite   Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:55 am

A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron. Peridotite is derived from the Earth's mantle, either as solid blocks and fragments, or as crystals accumulated from magmas that formed in the mantle. The compositions of peridotites from these layered igneous complexes vary widely, reflecting the relative proportions of pyroxenes, chromite, plagioclase, and amphibole.

Peridotite is the dominant rock of the upper part of the Earth's mantle. The compositions of peridotite nodules found in certain basalts and diamond pipes (kimberlites) are of special interest, because they provide samples of the Earth's Mantle roots of continents brought up from depths from about 30 km or so to depths at least as great as about 200 km. Some of the nodules preserve isotope ratios of osmium and other elements that record processes over three billion years ago, and so they are of special interest to paleogeologists because they provide clues to the composition of the Earth's early mantle and the complexities of the processes that were involved.

The word peridotite comes from the gemstone peridot, which consists of pale green olivine

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