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As the crystallization process continues, the composition of the melt (liquid portion of a magma, excluding any solid material continually changes.For example, at the stage when about 50 percent of the magma has solidified, the melt will be greatly depleted in iron, magnesium, and calcium, because these elements are found in the earliest formed minerals.Lava (properly called magma before it erupts) fills large underground chambers called magma chambers.Most people are not aware of the many processes that take place in lava before it erupts and as it solidifies, processes that can have a tremendous influence on daughter to parent ratios.On the upper left branch of this reaction series, olivine, the first mineral to form, Ml] react with the remaining melt to become pyroxene.This reaction will continue until the last mineral in the series, biotite mica, is formed.This left branch is called a discontinuous reaction series because each mineral has a different crystalline structure.Recall that olivine is composed of a single tetrahedra and that the other minerals in this sequence are composed of single chains, double chains, and sheet structures, respectively.

The mineral makeup of an igneous rock is ultimately determined by the chemical composition of the magma from which it crystallized.But at the same time, it will be enriched in the elements contained in the later forming minerals, namely sodium and potassium.Further, the silicon content of the melt becomes enriched toward the latter stages of crystallization.Such a large variety of igneous rocks exists that it is logical to assume an equally large variety of magmas must also exist.However, geologists have found that various eruptive stages of the same volcano often extrude lavas exhibiting somewhat different mineral compositions, particularly if an extensive period of time separated the eruptions.

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