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Related to gabbro: obsidian
, fine-grained rock of volcanic origin, dark gray, dark green, brown, reddish, or black in color. Basalt is an igneous rock, i.e., one that has congealed from a molten state.
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magmatic rock of basal composition, containing approximately equal parts of basal plagioclase (labradorite, bytownite) and colored minerals (pyroxenes, less frequently amphibole and olivine) and mineral ores in small quantities. Strictly, gabbro consists of plagioclase and monoclinic pyroxene. Varieties of gabbro include norites of plagioclase and rhombic pyroxenes and troctolites of plagioclase and olivine. If the gabbro contains olivine together with pyroxene, the rock is called olivine gabbro. Gabbros rich in plagioclase (85-90 percent) are called plagioclasites. Among these are labradorites, whose plagioclases often possess a beautiful bluish or greenish play of colors. The chemical composition of gabbro is approximately 45-50 percent silica and up to 20 percent oxides of iron and magnesium. The color is black or dark green, sometimes mottled. Typical gabbros that have hardened at great depths are characterized by approximately identically-sized crystals of the light and dark minerals that constitute it; gabbro in small masses usually has an ophitic structure. (The plagioclase is in the form of well-formed crystals, and the dark minerals fill the interstices between the plagioclases.) The forms and spatial distributions of the gabbro are large laccoliths, lopoliths, dikes, and stocks. Dimensions of the formations reach enormous magnitudes. (For example, the Duluth massif in Canada covers an area up to 5,000 sq km.) In the USSR there are large massifs of gabbro in the Urals, the Ukraine, the Kola Peninsula, the Transcaucasus, and other regions; outside the USSR there are gabbro masses in the Republic of South Africa, France, Scotland (Great Britain), and other countries. When gabbro disintegrates, ferrous clays, ochers, and, less frequently, low-quality kaolins are formed. Gabbros sometimes contain masses of ore minerals and in such cases may be used as ores of copper, nickel, and titanium. Gabbros are often used as building or facing stone of great strength, for exterior and interior facing, predominantly in the form of polished slabs (for example, the columns of the Lenin Library in Moscow), and for manufacturing gravel and road-paving stone.