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Large body of igneous rock formed beneath the Earth's surface by the intrusion and solidification of magma. Batholiths are usually composed of coarse-grained rocks (e.g., granite or quartz diorite) and often have an irregular shape, with side walls that incline steeply. They may have a surface exposure of 40 sq mi (100 sq km) or more and may be 6–9 mi (10–15 km) thick. A well-known batholith is located in the Sierra Nevada range of California.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on batholith, visit Britannica.com.