Difference Between Basalt and Granite (with Table)

Igneous Rock is formed from the crystalization of molten rock material. There are two types: Intrusive Igneous Rock that solidifies below the earth’s surface and large crystals are formed due to slow colling. The other type of Igneous Rock is Extrusive that erupts onto the surface where they cool quickly to form small crystals.

Basalt is an igneous rock or volcanic rock that is produced by the rapid cooling of lava which is rich in magnesium and iron. It is formed at the surface where it will Barden from lava.

Granite is a coarse- or medium-grained intrusive igneous rock with a felsic composition. It makes up the bulk of major mountain ranges and the core of continents around the world.

The difference between basalt and granite is that basalt is an intrusive type of igneous rock and granite is an extrusive type of igneous rock.

Comparison table between Basalt and Granite

Parameter of ComparisonBasaltGranite
DefinitionBasalt is a dark igneous rock of a lava flow or minor intrusion composed of labradorite and pyroxene.Granite is a coarse-grained igneous rock composed of orthoclase and albite feldspars and quartz.
CompositionBasalt is composed of Mafic.Granite is composed of Felsic.
Surface LocationBasalt is an Extrusive Igneous Rock.Granite is an Intrusive Igneous Rock.
Formation TimeBasalt takes days or months for the formation.Granite takes millions of years for their formation.
DistributionIt is common on most silicate terrestrial planetary bodies.It is only found on Earth.
Associated CrustBasalt is found in continental as well as oceanic crusts.Granite is found only in the continental crusts.

What is Basalt?

Basalt is a fine-grained, dence, dark-colored extrusive igneous rock composed of plagioclase and pyroxene minerals. It is made from the rapid cooling of lava rich in iron and magnesium exposed very near the surface of a terrestrial planet or a moon. The eruption of basalt lava is observed by geologists at about 20 volcanoes per year and more than 90% of all volcanic rock on Earth is basalt.

Basalt is an igneous rock aphanitic (fine-grained) that is relatively low in silica and alkali metals. This kind of igneous rock consists of rock minerals such as porphyritic, phenocrysts(containing larger crystals) formed before the extrusion that brought the magma to the surface, embedded in a finer-grained matrix. These phenocrysts usually are of augite, olivine, or a calcium-rich plagioclase, which have the highest melting temperatures of the typical minerals that can crystallize from the melt and are therefore the first to form solid crystals.

Basalt is used for a huge variety of purposes. Basalt is cut into dimension stone. The lean slabs of basalt are cut and polished for use as building veneer, monuments, floor tiles, and other stone objects.

It is also crushed for use as an aggregate in construction projects. These crushed rocks is used for road base, concrete aggregate, railroad ballast, filter stone in drain fields, asphalt pavement aggregate, and many other purposes.

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What is Granite?

Granite is an igneous rock that is light-colored with grains large enough to be visible with the unaided eye. It is formed from the slow solidification of magma below Earth’s surface. It is composed of quartz and feldspar(rock-forming mineral) with minor amounts of mica, amphiboles, and other minerals.

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Basalt sometimes also contains vesicles. It is formed when dissolved gases bubble out of the magma as it decompresses during its approach to the surface, and the erupted lava then solidifies before the gases can escape. The rock is described as scoria when vesicles make up a substantial fraction of the volume of the rock.

Granite is used for more than thousands of years in both exterior and interior applications. Rough-cut and polished granite is used in buildings, monuments,  bridges, paving, and many other exterior projects. For the indoor project, polished granite slabs and tiles are used in stair treads, countertops, tile floors, and many other practical and decorative features.

It is also used as an aggregate of crushed stone. In the said form it is used as a base material at construction sites, as an aggregate in road construction, foundations, railroad ballast, and anywhere that a crushed stone is useful as fill.

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Main Differences Between Basalt and Granite

  1. Basalt is a dense, dark, fine grained igneous rock of a lava flow or minor intrusion composed of labradorite and pyroxene. As against, Granite is a coarse-grained igneous rock composed of orthoclase and albite feldspars, and quartz.
  2. Basalt is darker colored and is composed of mafic. On the other hand, granite is light-colored and is composed of felsic.
  3. Basalt is an extrusive igneous rock that erupts onto the surface where they cool quickly to form small crystals. And granite is an intrusive igneous rock that solidifies below the earth’s surface and large crystals are formed due to slow colling.
  4. Basalt takes lesser time to formulate whereas granite takes millions of years.
  5. Basalt is common on most silicate terrestrial planetary bodies and it is found in oceanic as well as continental crusts. Whereas granite is only found on Earth and it is found only around the continental crusts.
  6. Basalt has columnal planes whereas granite has horizontal planes.

Conclusion

There are three kinds of rock on earth igneous rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock. Basalt and Granite are two of the different type of igneous rock. One can easily get confused out of basalt and granite being kinds of igneous rock but there are several ways they differ from each other. Therefore, both these rocks have a distinct specification that makes them dissimilar.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0019103566900534
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02594444