Dark igneous rock that is low in silica content and comparatively rich in iron and magnesium. Some basalts are glassy (have no visible crystals), and many are very fine-grained and compact. Basaltic lavas may be spongy or pumice-like. Olivine and augite are the most common minerals in basalts; plagioclase is also present. Basalts may be broadly classified into two main groups. Calc-alkali basalts predominate among the lavas of mountain belts; the active volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea in Hawaii erupt calc-alkali lavas. Alkali basalts predominate among the lavas of the ocean basins and are also common in mountain belts.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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