ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Polarised light micrograph of a thin section of basalt, an igneous rock (location unknown). In this image, large coloured crystals appear embedded in the fine-grained basalt matrix. Such crystals are known as phenocrysts. The size of a phenocryst depends on the rate at which it was cooled out of the magma; the larger the crystals the slower the process. Magnification x7 at 6x6cm size.
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