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Granite rock hand sample

A granitoid is a generic term for a diverse collection of coarse-grained igneous rocks that consist predominantly of quartz, plagioclase, and alkali feldspar.[1] Granitoids range from plagioclase-rich tonalites to alkali-rich syenites and from quartz-poor monzonites to quartz-rich quartzolites.[2] As only 2 of the 3 defining mineral groups (quartz, plagioclase, alkali feldspar) need to be presence to be a granitoid, foid-bearing or feldspathoid rocks, meaning rocks predominantly containing feldspars but no quartz, are also granitoids.[2] The terms ‘granite’ and ‘granitic rock’ are commonly used interchangeably for granitoids; however granite is just a particular type of granitoid.

Granitoids are diverse: no one classification system for granitoids can give a complete and unique characterization of the origin, compositional evolution and geodynamic environment for the genesis of a granitoid. Accordingly, multiple granitoid classification systems have been developed such as those based on: geochemistry, modal content, emplacement depth, and tectonic regime.

Granitoid generalizations[edit]

Illustration of continental collision as a result of convergence

There are several generalizations that apply to majority of granitoids. Typically, granitoids occur where orogeny thickens continental crust either by subduction yielding a continental arc or by convergence yielding continental collisions.[3] Generally, the evolution to granitoid magmas requires a thermal disturbance to ascent though continental crust.[3]  Most granitoids are generated from crustal anatexis, the partial melting of the crust;  however the mantle may contribute both heat and material.[3]  Granitoids can occur coeval with volcanic rocks that have equivalent chemical composition ( granites-rhyolites, syenite-trachyte, dacite-granodiorite etc.) however, these extrusive rocks are often eroded so just the plutonic rocks outcrop.[3]  Granitoids can form in all tectonic environments.[3]

There are numerous exceptions to these generalizations.[4][3]  For example, granitoids can form in anorogenic  environments, a granitoid source rock can be from the mantle (ex. intraplate hotspots) and the melting mechanism can be radiogenic crustal heat.[4][5][6]


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  2. ^ a b Streckeisen, A. (1974). "Classification and Nomenclature of Plutonic Rocks: Recommendations of the IUGS Subcommission on the Systematics of Igneous Rocks". Geologische Rundschau. 63 (2): 773–786. Bibcode:1974GeoRu..63..773S. doi:10.1007/BF01820841
  3. ^ a b c d e f Winter, John D. (2014). Principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology (Second ; Pearson new international ed.), p. 402. ISBN 9781292021539.
  4. ^ a b Clarke, D. B. (1992) Granitoid Rocks, Chapman  & Hall, London.
  5. ^ Pitcher, W. S. 1982. Granite type and tectonic environment. In Hsu, K. J. (ed.) Mountain Building Processes, 19–40. London: Academic Press.
  6. ^ Barbarin, B. (1990). Granitoids: Main petrogenetic classifications in relation to origin and tectonic setting. Geological Journal (Chichester, England), 25(3‐4), 227–238.