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The Field Description of Igneous Rocks, 2nd Edition



The Field Description of Igneous Rocks, 2nd Edition

Dougal Jerram, Nick Petford

ISBN: 978-1-119-95717-1 July 2011 256 Pages

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The Second Edition of this unique pocket field guide has been thoroughly revised and updated to include advances in physical volcanology, emplacement of magmas and interpreting structures and textures in igneous rocks. The book integrates new field based techniques (AMS and geophysical studies of pluton shape) with new topics on magma mixing and mingling, sill emplacement and magma sediment interaction. Part of the successful Field Guide series, this book includes revised sections on granitic and basaltic rocks and for the first time a new chapter on the engineering properties of igneous rocks.

The Geological Field Guide Series is specifically designed for scientists and students to use in the field when information and resources may be more difficult to access.

Many editions have been updated for 2011 and the guides are:

  • Student-friendly in design and cost
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Pocket-sized
  • Reliable
  • Concise

Visit the series homepage at


1 Introduction and Occurrence.

1.1 The Importance of Fieldwork.

1.2 The Global Picture – Igneous Rocks in Relation to Regional Tectonics.

1.3 Mode of Occurrence of Igneous Bodies.

1.4 Summary.

2 Field Skills and Outcrop Structures.

2.1 Equipment.

2.2 Preparing Maps and Basic Mapping.

2.3 Notebooks and Data Recording.

2.4 Primary Outcrop Structures.

2.5 Secondary or Late Stage Outcrop Structures.

2.6 Outcrop Contact Relationships.

2.7 Summary of Igneous Outcrop Descriptions.

3 Igneous Textures and Classification.

3.1 Describing Rock Types.

3.2 Colour and Composition.

3.3 Texture, Grain-Size/Shape and Fabric.

3.4 Mineral Identification.

3.5 Naming and Classification.

4 Volcanics 1 – Lava Flows.

4.1 Lava Flow Emplacement Mechanisms.

4.2 A Compositional Divide for Lava Flows.

4.3 Mafic/Basaltic Lava Flows.

4.4 Felsic/Silicic Flows.

4.5 Pillow Lavas and Hyaloclastites.

5 Volcanics 2 – Pyroclastic Rocks.

5.1 Structures, Textures and Classification.

5.2 Pyroclastic Flows and Ignimbrites.

5.3 Scoria Cones.

5.4 Water/Magma and Sediment/Magma Interactions.

5.5 Epiclastic Deposits.

6 Shallow-Level Intrusions.

6.1 Sill and Dykes.

6.2 Working Out Emplacement History.

6.3 Volcanic Plugs and Diatremes.

6.4 High-Level Subvolcanic Intrusions.

7 Granitic Complexes.

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 General Features and Occurrence.

7.3 Zoned Plutons.

7.4 Internal Structures and Textures.

7.5 Internal Contacts.

7.6 Emplacement Timing.

7.7 Distinctive Granitoid Textures.

7.8 Metamorphic Aureoles.

7.9 Summary of the Field Characteristics of Granitic Complexes.

8 Mafic Complexes.

8.1 General Features and Occurrence.

8.2 Continental Mafic-Ultramafic Intrusions.

8.3 Ophiolite Complexes.

8.4 Komatiites.

8.5 Summary of the Field Characteristics of Mafic-Ultramafic Intrusions.

9 Magma Mixing and Mingling.

9.1 Magma Rheology.

9.2 Magma Mixing.

9.3 Magma Mingling.

9.4 Synplutonic Dykes and Sills.

9.5 Magma Mingling in Subvolcanic and Volcanic Environments.

9.6 Xenoliths.

9.7 A Word of Warning.

9.8 Summary.

10 Mineralisation and Geotechnical Properties.

10.1 Mineralisation and Key Minerals.

10.2 Mineralisation in Layered Mafic Intrusions.

10.3 Geotechnical Properties of Igneous Rocks.

10.4 Rock Mass Classification.

10.5 Summary.


Further Reading.


“The reader will return repeatedly to the excellent sketches and tables throughout the book, and the "how to” sections provide some memorable highlights.”  (PESGB, 1 January 2014)

“A second edition of The Field Description of Igneous Rocks has been long overdue, and the authors are to be commended for reproducing an excellent and comprehensively revised version.”  (Geological Journal, 1 January 2013) 

“Overall, if you are examining igneous rocks in the field or studying an OU course then, yes, I would recommend this book.”  (Open University Geological Society Journal, 1 November 2012)

“To be fair, the authors of this book have undertaken an incredibly difficult task. They succeed at reaching the novice audience but fall a bit short when it comes to more experienced mapping geologists.”  (Environmental & Engineering Geoscience, 1 November 2012)

"This book is certain to be of use to all geological students and enthusiasts interested in studying igneous geology in the field." (American Mineralogist, 2012)

"As a pocket field guide, the book, because of its size, sometimes undersells the fantastic images it contains, but as a whole, it is a welcome, useful resource. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates." (Choice, 1 October 2011)

  • Retains its handy pocket size for use in the field
  • Includes new sections on Granitic rocks, basaltic rocks, magma mixing and mingling, and engineering properties and mineralisation
  • New series style and layout