American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A dark igneous porphyry embedded with feldspar crystals.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A fine-grained greenish- or brownish-black aggregate of plagioclase, augite, olivin, magnetite, or titaniferous iron and some chloritic mineral, usually delessite. The term melaphyre, as it has been formerly used by lithologists, includes a considerable variety of rocks; but, as now generally restricted, it is properly applied to such basalts as have undergone considerable alteration. Hence the melaphyres are, in point of fact, mostly of Paleozoic age, although some are Mesozoic, because the older a rock is, other things being equal, the more likely it is to have undergone chemical change.
- n. It is proposed, in the field classification accompanying the quantitative system of classification of igneous rocks (see rock), to restore the term melaphyre to its early significance and apply it to all dark-colored porphyries, of any composition.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Min.) Any one of several dark-colored augitic, eruptive rocks allied to basalt.
- French, from Ancient Greek, meaning "black porphyry". (Wiktionary)
- French mélaphyre : Greek melās, black + French porphyre, porphyry (from Medieval Latin porphyrium; see porphyry). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Below this were found chipped flints, an adze of melaphyre, and a layer of boulders, sand, and clay, brought down by the ice from the higher valley.”
“His conscience at once spoke out, and in the agony of his remorse he had resort to a hermit who bade him renounce the world, grave for himself a cell in the face of the melaphyre clay -- the hermit did not give to the rock its mineralogical name -- and await a token from heaven that he was forgiven.”
“Beaumont, Elie de, on the uplifting of mountain chains, 51, 300; influence of the rocks of melaphyre and serpentine, on pendulum experiments, 167; conjectures on the quartz strata of the Col de la Poissoniere, 266.”
“Murchison, Sir R., account of a large fissure through which melaphyre had been ejected, 258; classification of fossiliferous strata, 277; on the age of the Palaeosaurus and Thecodontosaurus of Bristol, 274.”
“When we find, over widely extended parts of the earth, that two phenomena are always associated together, as, for instance, the occurrence of melaphyre”
“The formation of veins, that is to say, the filling up of fissures with crystalline masses bursting forth from the interior (as basalt, melaphyre, and greenstone), gradually disturbs the free intercommunication of elastic vapors.”
“These geognostic relations of an instrument intended for the measurement of time -- this property of the pendulum, by which, like a sounding line, it searches unknown depths, and reveals in volcanic islands, * or in the declivity of elevated continental mountain chains, ** dense masses of basalt and melaphyre instead of cavities, render it difficult, notwithstanding the admirable simplicity of the method, to arrive at any great result regarding the figure of the Earth from observation of the oscillations of the pendulum.”
“The vast fissures which were formerly open in the solid crust of the earth have since been filled up or closed by the protrusion of elevated mountain chains, or by the penetration of veins of rocks of eruption (granite, porphyry, basalt, and melaphyre); and while, scarcely more than four volcanoes remaining through which fire and stones are erupted, the thinner, more fissured, and unstable crust of the earth was anciently almost every where covered by channels of communication between the fused interior and the external atmosphere.”
“p 239 active volcanoes is always manifested in the chain of the Andes by the appearance of certain rocks (as dolerite, melaphyre, trachyte, andesite, and dioritic porphyry), which divide the so-called primitive rocks, the transition slates and sandstones, and the stratified formations. the constant recurrence of this phenomenon convinced me long since that these sporadic rocks were the seat of volcanic phenomena, and were connected with volcanic eruptions.”
“System ', p. 126) of a fissure 480 feet wide, through which melaphyre has been ejected, at the coal-mine at Cornbrook, Hoar Edge.”
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