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Aphanitic QAPF diagram denoting dacite

Dacite /desat/ is an igneous, volcanic rock. It has an aphanitic to porphyritic texture and is
intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite. The relative proportions of feldspars
and quartz in dacite, and in many other volcanic rocks, are illustrated in the QAPF diagram.
Dacite is also defined by silica and alkali contents in the TAS classification.
The word dacite comes from Dacia, a province of the Roman Empire which lay between the
Danube River and Carpathian Mountains (now modern Romania and Moldova) where the rock
was first described.


1 Composition

2 Texture

3 Geological context and formation

o 3.1 Dacite's role in the creation of Archean continental crust
o 3.2 Molten dacite magma at Klauea

4 See Also

5 References

Dacite consists mostly of plagioclase feldspar with biotite, hornblende, and pyroxene (augite
and/or enstatite). It has quartz as rounded, corroded phenocrysts, or as an element of the groundmass.[1]
The plagioclase ranges from oligoclase to andesine and labradorite. Sanidine occurs, although in
small proportions, in some dacites, and when abundant gives rise to rocks that form transitions to
the rhyolites.
The groundmass of these rocks is composed of plagioclase and quartz.


Grey, red, black, altered white/tan, flow-banded pumice dacite

In the hand specimen many of the hornblende and biotite dacites are grey or pale brown and
yellow rocks with white feldspars, and black crystals of biotite and hornblende. Other dacites,
especially pyroxene bearing dacites, are darker colored.[1]
In thin section, dacites may have an aphanitic to porphyritic texture. Porphyritic dacites contain
blocky highly zoned plagioclase phenocrysts and/or rounded corroded quartz phenocrysts.
Subhedral hornblende and elongated biotite grains are present. Sanidine phenocrysts and augite
(or enstatite) are found in some samples. The groundmass of these rocks is often aphanitic
microcrystalline, with a web of minute feldspars mixed with interstitial grains of quartz or
tridymite; but in many dacites it is largely vitreous, while in others it is felsitic or

Geological context and formation

Thin section of a porphyritic dacite from Mount St. Helens

Dacite usually forms as an intrusive rock such as a dike or sill. Examples of this type of dacite
outcrop are found in northwestern Montana and northeastern Bulgaria. Nevertheless, because of
the moderate silica content, dacitic magma is quite viscous[2] and therefore prone to explosive
eruption. A notorious example of this is Mount St. Helens in which dacite domes formed from
previous eruptions.
Dacitic magma is formed by the subduction of young oceanic crust under a thick felsic
continental plate. Oceanic crust is hydrothermally altered causing addition of quartz and sodium.
As the young, hot oceanic plate is subducted under continental crust, the subducted slab
partially melts and interacts with the upper mantle through convection and dehydration reactions.
The process of subduction creates metamorphism in the subducting slab. When this slab
reaches the mantle and initiates the dehydration reactions, minerals such as talc, serpentine, mica
and amphiboles break down generating a more sodic melt.[5] The magma then continues to
migrate upwards causing differentiation and becomes even more sodic and silicic as it rises.
Once at the cold surface, the sodium rich magma crystallizes plagioclase, quartz and hornblende.
Accessory minerals like pyroxenes provide insight to the history of the magma.
The formation of dacite provides a great deal of information about the connection between
oceanic crust and continental crust. It provides a model for the generation of felsic, buoyant,
perennial rock from a mafic, dense, short-lived one.

Dacite's role in the creation of Archean continental crust

The process by which dacite forms has been used to explain the generation of continental crust
during the Archean eon. At that time, the fabrication of dacitic magma was more ubiquitous due
to the availability of young hot oceanic crust. Today, the colder oceanic crust that subducts under
most plates is not capable of melting before the dehydration reactions therefore inhibiting the

Molten dacite magma at Klauea

Dacite magma was encountered in a drillhole during geothermal exploration on Klauea in 2005.
At a depth of 2488 m, the magma flowed up the wellbore. This produced several kilograms of
clear, colorless vitric (glassy, non-crystalline) cuttings at the surface. The dacite magma is a
residual melt of the typical basalt magma of Klauea.[8]

See Also

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dacite.

One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication

now in the public domain: Flett, John Smith (1911). "Dacite". In Chisholm, Hugh.
Encyclopdia Britannica 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 728.


Whittington, A., Hellwig, B., Behrens, H., Joachim, B., Stechern, A., Vetere, F.,
(2009) The viscosity of hydrous dacitic liquids: Implications for the rheology of evolving
silicic magmas. Bulletin of Volcanology 71, 185-199.


DeVore, G. (1983) The influence of submarine weathering of basalts on their

partial melting during subduction. Lithos 16, 203-213.


Drummond, M. S. and Defant, M. J., 1990, A model for trondhjemite-tonalitedacite genesis and crustal growth via slab melting. Journal Geophysical Research 95,


Fyfe, W., McBirney, A. (1975) Subduction and the structure of andesitic volcanic
belts. American Journal of Science 275-A, 285-297.


Defant, M., Richerson, P., De Boer, J., Stewart R., Maury, R., Bellon, H.,
Drummond, M., Feigenson, M (1991) Dacite Genesis via both Slab Melting and
Differentiation: Petrogenesis of La Yeguada Volcanic Complex, Panama. Journal of
Petrology 32, 1101-1142


Atherton, M., Petford, N (1993) Generation of sodium-rich magmas from newly

underplated basaltic crust. Nature 362, 144-146.

Puna Dacite Magma at Kilauea: Unexpected Drilling Into an Active Magma Posters,
2008 Eos Trans. AGU, 89(53), Fall Meet.