Olivine basalt - Isle of Skye
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Fact sheet
Description: 

During the Paleocene to Early Eocene, the Isle of Skye formed one of the main volcanic centres of the North Atlantic Igneous Province. Gently dipping lavas from the volcanoes cover most of northern Skye, giving a stepped trap type landscape. The dominant lava type is basalt, with subsidiary hawaiite and mugearite derived from silica-poor magma and minor amounts of trachyte from a silica-rich magma. 

Our sample was collected near the car park at Dunvegan Castle and belongs to the Ramascaig Group - a series of alternating porphyritic and non-porphyritic basalts. 

Rotation 1 shows large ophitic pyroxene crystals enclosing thin laths of plagioclase feldspar. Rotation 2 focuses on a porphyritic olivine crystal which between crossed polars shows a distinct colour variation at its margin. This indicates a degree of compositional variation as this early-formed crystal was convected around the remaining magma.

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Location description: 
Dunvegan Castle car park, Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides, Scotland
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Paleogene
Ma = Millions of years ago
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igneous
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