THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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APHANITE, a name given (from the Gr. ἀφανής, invisible) to certain dark-coloured igneous rocks which are so fine-grained that their component minerals are not detected by the unaided eye. They consist essentially of plagioclase felspar, with hornblende or augite, and may contain also biotite, quartz and a limited amount of orthoclase. Although a few authorities still recognize the aphanites as a distinct class, most systematic petrologists, at the present time, have discarded it, and regard these rocks as merely structural facies of other species. Those which contain hornblende are uniform, fine-grained diorites, vogesites, &c., while when pyroxene predominates they are ascribed to the dolerites, quartz-dolerites, &c. Hence, any rock which is compact, crystalline and fine grained, is frequently said to be aphanitic, without implying exactly to which of the principal rock groups it really belongs.
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