Rhyolite (// RY-ə-lyte) is the most silica-rich of volcanic rocks. It is generally glassy or fine-grained (aphanitic) in texture, but may be porphyritic, containing larger mineral crystals (phenocrysts) in an otherwise fine-grained groundmass. The mineral assemblage is predominantly quartz, sanidine, and plagioclase. It is the extrusive equivalent to granite.
|Primary||Felsic: igneous quartz and alkali feldspar (sanidine and sodic plagioclase)|
|Secondary||Biotite and hornblende|
Magma with the composition of rhyolite is extremely viscous, due to its high silica content. This favors explosive eruptions over effusive eruptions, so rhyolitic magma is more often erupted as pyroclastic rock than as lava flows. Rhyolitic ash-flow tuffs are among the most voluminous of continental igneous rock formations.
Rhyolitic tuff has been extensively used for construction. Obsidian, which is rhyolitic volcanic glass, has been used for tools from prehistoric times to the present day because it can be shaped to an extremely sharp edge. Rhyolitic pumice finds use as an abrasive, in concrete, and as a soil amendment.