Basalt: Description, Characteristics, and Other FAQs

In this article, you’ll obtain answers to common questions about basalt.

What Is Basalt?

Basalt is a type of rock.

More specifically, basalt is an igneous rock that forms when molten lava (magma) cools and solidifies.

The majority of all volcanic rock on Earth is basalt.

Basalt Texture

Basalt typically has a fine-grained or aphanitic texture (meaning the rock consists of small, interlocking crystals).

What Is The Chemical Composition of Basalt?

The chemical composition of basalt is dominated by the two most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust: oxygen and silicon.

Other important elements in basalt include aluminum, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium.

Where Is Basalt Commonly Found?

Basalt is found all over the world.

In fact, it’s the most common type of rock in the Earth’s crust!

Basalt forms at the earth’s surface, making up much of the planet’s oceanic crust.

Basalt is also a major component of many continental crusts.

Many extraordinary basalt formations are actually popular tourist destinations, such as Giant’s Causeway (Ireland), Gilbert’s Hill (Mumbai), Basaltic Prisms of Santa Maria Regla, Devil’s Postpile National Monument (California, USA), Maku (Iran), Da Dia Cliff (Vietnam), Fingal’s Cave (Scotland), Svartifoss (Iceland), Takachiho Gorge (Japan), Cape Stolbchatiy (Russia), Organ Pipes (Namibia), Cape Raoul (Australia), Kexagon pool (Israel), and Rochester Falls (Mauritius), among others.

What Are Basalt’s Characteristics?

Basalt has a number of characteristics that make it distinct from other types of rocks.

For example, basalt:

– is black or very dark in color

– has a high iron and magnesium content

– is rich in silica

– is very dense

– has a low melting point

What Are Basalt’s Uses?

Basalt has a number of practical uses.

For example, basalt:

  • is used as a construction material (such as bricks and tiles)
  • is used in structures (such as columns and foundations)
  • is used in the production of asphalt
  • is used as a railroad ballast and rail tracks
  • is used in the manufacturing of Basalt fiber and Basalt matting
  • sculptures
  • other interior decoration (countertops, worktops, walls, fireplaces, floors)

What Is Basalt’s History?

Basalt has a long and rich history.

Basalt has been used by humans for centuries, with evidence of its use dating back to the Bronze Age.

Basalt was also a popular material in the ancient world, used by the Egyptians and Greeks for a variety of purposes.

Basalt is still being used today, with its popularity increasing in recent years.

Thanks to its unique properties, basalt is becoming an increasingly popular material for a variety of applications.

Is Basalt Acidic or Basic?

Basalt is a basic rock, with a pH of around 8.

How Hard Is Basalt?

Basalt is a hard rock, with a Mohs hardness of 6-7.

Basalt is not considered to be a soft rock.

What Are Basalt’s Other Names?

Basalt has a number of other names, including:

– Basalto

– Basanite

– Diabase

– Gabbro

– Lapilli tuff

– Montmorillonite

– Tachylite

How Basalt and Granite Are Different

Basalt and granite are different because basalt is an igneous rock that forms when molten lava (magma) cools and solidifies, while granite is a type of rock that is formed by the slow cooling and solidification of magma.

Is Basalt Intrusive or Extrusive?

Basalt is considered to be extrusive because it forms at the earth’s surface.

Is Basalt a Rock or a Mineral?

Basalt is a rock.

Although basalt is composed of minerals (including the aforementioned oxygen and silicon), rocks are classified based on their texture and origin rather than their chemical composition.

To be considered a mineral, a material must have a definite chemical composition and a crystalline structure.

Basalt does not meet these criteria.

Is Basalt an Igneous Rock?

Basalt is an igneous rock.

Is Basalt a Sedimentary Rock?

Basalt is not a sedimentary rock.

Is Basalt a Metamorphic Rock?

No, Basalt is not a metamorphic rock.

Is Basalt Aphanitic or Phaneritic?

Basalt is an aphanitic rock.

Is Basalt Volcanic or Plutonic?

Basalt is a volcanic rock.

Why Is Basalt Dark In Color?

Basalt is usually a darker grey or black because it contains a high level of augite and/or pyroxene minerals.

Is Basalt Magnetic?

Yes, Basalt is considered a magnetic, though the amount and strength of the magnetism will depend upon the composition of the material (which does vary).

Is Basalt Clay?

No, basalt is not clay.

However, as basalt weathers (and erodes), it will eventually produce clay and silt.

Is Basalt Heavy?

Yes, basalt is a dense and heavy material.

Can Basalt Float on Water?

No, basalt does not float on water.

Can Basalt Scratch Glass?

Yes, generally basalt can scratch glass.

The Moh’s hardness of glass is between a 5 and 6, while basalt is rated a 6-7.

Basalt vs Gabbro: What’s The Difference Between Them?

Basalt and gabbro have the same chemical composition.

The primary difference between them is their texture.

Basalt is very fine grained due to how quickly it cools.

Gabbro cools slowly, which creates a more coarse texture.

Still interested in learning more about Basalt?

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