OLIVINE  MELILITITE  LAPILLI  TUFF

 

This is one of the strangest & visually distinctive volcanic rocks I’ve come across.  This is an olivine melilitite lapillistone.  This means it is a clastic-textured, extrusive igneous rock dominated by grains larger than ash (>2 mm in size).  Grains of this size are called lapilli.  A lapillistone (lapilli tuff) is a deposit of lapilli that’s been lithified - in this case, the grains have been cemented together by calcite.  The lapilli in this sample range in shape from subrounded to angular.  There's quite a few <2 mm grains in the rock as well.

 

The lapilli grains themselves are composed of an unusual igneous rock called porphyritic olivine melilitite, which consists of a mix of olivine, diopside pyroxene, and melilite (calcium sodium magnesium aluminosilicate - (Ca,Na)2(Al,Mg)(Si,Al)2O7).

 

Locality & Geology: Howenegg, Hegau Volcanic Province, Rhine Graben, southwestern Germany.

 

Age: early Late Miocene, 10 m.y.

 

Olivine melilitite lapillistone (above & below; wet, cut surfaces; above: 5.3 cm across; below: 1.8 cm across) with grains of olivine melilitite (gray & brown) cemented together by calcite (yellow).

The lapilli grains (see the gray & brown chunks in the closeup photo below) are composed of porphyritic olivine melilitite.

 


 

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