Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Nicholas Arndt
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_665-3


Granite is a coarse-grained igneous intrusive rock composed mainly of Si- and Al-rich minerals (quartz and feldspars), with minor amounts of biotite, muscovite, and amphibole. Granitic rocks are the dominant component of the continental crust. A granite cannot be a primary melt of mantle peridotite. Its genesis (and thus that of continental crust) involves the fractional crystallization of mafic magmas or more commonly, remelting of basaltic or sedimentary precursors. Granite has not been reported on planets other than Earth, except as rare disseminated veinlets in a few lunar rocks. Most granite forms in a two-stage process: The first stage involves partial melting of the lower crust and sometimes of subducted oceanic material (of basaltic composition) to form magmas of intermediate andesitic composition. Andesite, in turn, partially melts to form magmas of granitic composition. S-granitesare intrusive rocks formed by the partial melting of metasedimentary and...


Partial Melting Continental Crust Orogenic Belt Lower Crust Fractional Crystallization 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maison des GéosciencesLGCA, Université J. FourierSt-Martin d’HèresFrance