The mineral assembly is usually abundant feldspathoids (nepheline or leucite), plagioclase, and augite, together with olivine and lesser iron-titanium oxides such as ilmenite and magnetite-ulvospinel; minor alkali feldspar may be present, as illustrated by the position of the field for basanite in the QAPF diagram. Clinopyroxene (augite) and olivine are common as phenocrysts and in the matrix. The augite contains significantly greater titanium, aluminium and sodium than that in typical tholeiitic basalt. Quartz is absent, as are orthopyroxene and pigeonite. Chemically, basanites are mafic. They are low in silica (42 to 45% SiO2) and high in alkalis (3 to 5.5% Na2O and K2O) compared to basalt, which typically contains more SiO2, as evident on the diagram used for TAS classification. Nephelinite is yet richer in Na2O plus K2O compared to SiO2.
Basanites occur both on continents and on ocean islands. Together with basalts, they are produced by hotspot volcanism, for example in the Hawaiian Islands, the Comoros Islands and the Canary Islands.
- Blatt, Harvey and Robert J. Tracy (1996) Petrology, 2nd ed., W. H. Freeman ISBN 0-7167-2438-3
- Buchwaldt, Robert (2003) Geochemistry and Petrology of a Miocene Trachyte-Basanite Suite from Mt. Tsaratanana, Northern Madagascar, Abstract.
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