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An intrusion is any formation of intrusive igneous rock; rock formed from magma that cools and solidifies within the crust of a planet. In contrast, an extrusion consists of extrusive rock; rock formed above the surface of the crust.

Intrusions vary widely, from mountain range sized batholiths to thin vein-like fracture fillings of aplite. The central cores of major mountain ranges consist of intrusions. When exposed by erosion, these cores called batholiths may occupy huge areas of Earth's surface. Large bodies of magma that solidify underground before they reach the surface of the crust are called plutons.

Coarse grained intrusive igneous rocks which form at depth within the earth are called abyssal while those which form near the surface are called hypabyssal. Intrusive structures are often classified according to whether or not they are parallel to the bedding plane or foliation of the country rock: if the intrusion is parallel the body is concordant, otherwise it is discordant.

A well-known example of an intrusion is Devil's Towermarker.

Structural types

Intrusions can be classified according to the shape and size of the intrusive body and its relation to the other formations into which it intrudes:
batholith
a large irregular discordant intrusion
dike
a relatively narrow tabular discordant body, often nearly vertical
laccolith
concordant body with roughly flat base and [[Wikt
lopolith
concordant body with roughly flat top and a shallow [[Wikt
phacolith
a concordant lens-shaped pluton that typically occupies the crest of an anticline or trough of a syncline.
pipe
or volcanic neck tubular roughly vertical body which may have been a feeder vent for a volcano
sill
a relatively thin tabular concordant body intruded along bedding planes
stock
a smaller irregular discordant intrusion


Characteristics

Deep-seated intrusions are recognized from the way in which they have burst through the overlaying strata. Ramifying veins result from filled cracks, and the high temperature involved in this process is evident from the altered adjacent country rock. Since heat dissipates slowly and since the rock is under pressure, crystals form and no vitreous rapidly chilled matter is present. As the intrusions have had time to rest before crystallizing, they are not fluidal. Their contained gases have not been able to escape through the thick layer of strata, beneath which they were injected. Such gases form cavities, which can often be observed in these minerals. Such gases have also resulted in many important modifications in the crystallization of the rock. Because their crystals are of approximately equal size these rocks are said to be granular.

There is typically no distinction between a first generation of large well-shaped crystals and a fine-grained ground-mass. The minerals of each have formed in a definite order, and each has had a period of crystallization that may be very distinct or may have coincided with or overlapped the period of formation of some of the other ingredients. Earlier crystals originated at a time when most of the rock was still liquid and are more or less perfect. Later crystals are less regular in shape because they were compelled to occupy the spaces left between the already-formed crystals. The former case is said to be idiomorphic (or automorphic); the latter is xenomorphic. There are also many other characteristics that serve to distinguish the members of these two groups. For example, orthoclase is typically feldspar from granite, while its modifications occur in lavas of similar composition. The same distinction holds for nepheline varieties. Leucite is common in lavas but very rare in plutonic rocks. Muscovite is confined to intrusions. These differences show the influence of the physical conditions under which consolidation takes place.

Some intrusive rocks solidified in fissures as dikes and intrusive sills at a shallow depth beneath the surface and are called hypabyssal. Those formed at greater depths are called plutonic or abyssal. As might be expected, they show structures intermediate between those of extrusive and plutonic rocks. They are very commonly porphyritic, vitreous, and sometimes even vesicular. In fact, many of them are petrologically indistinguishable from lavas of similar composition.

References




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