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Partial Melting

Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)


Fusion; Magma genesis


Partial meltingis the transformation of some fraction of the mass of a solid rock into a liquid as a result of decompression, heat input, or addition of a flux. The resulting liquid is called magma and becomes lava if it erupts from a volcano. The understanding that partial, rather than complete, melting is the norm in natural systems is essential to appreciating the geochemical importance of melting in the Earth and planets. During partial melting, the liquid differs from the source rock and from coexisting residual minerals in composition and in physical properties such as density and viscosity. The low viscosity, low density (usually), and interconnected texture of the liquid during partial melting allow the melt to migrate from the source and thereby trigger physical phenomena like volcanism as well as chemical segregation...


  • Source Rock
  • Partial Melting
  • Subduction Zone
  • Oceanic Crust
  • Mantle Wedge

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Correspondence to Paul D. Asimow .

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Asimow, P.D. (2016). Partial Melting. In: White, W. (eds) Encyclopedia of Geochemistry. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Cham.

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