What is Magma Made Of?

In this article, we will try to answer one of the basic questions in the field of geological studies, what is magma made of? If experts are to be believed, its composition depends on various geological processes, including fractional crystallization and contamination.
ScienceStruck Staff
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2018
Did you know?
Magma is the molten form of rock, stored deep beneath the Earth's surface. The temperature of this hot fluid ranges from 1292 - 2372 °F. At this temperature, it has the ability to melt the surrounding rock structures to produce more magma.
Explosive volcano
Magma can escape to the surface of the Earth as a result of volcanic eruptions. The volcanoes that emit ash, gas and magma high into the sky are known as 'explosive volcanoes', while those which emit lava are termed as 'effusive volcanoes'. The explosions in these volcanoes are attributed to the intense pressure that is formed due to various gases within them.
How is Magma Formed?
Temperature and pressure rise with depth, eventually reaching a level where they can even melt the strongest rock and turn it to a liquid form. This liquid rock is referred to as magma. Enormous heat, which is sufficient enough to melt the rocks, is also generated when two huge rock masses rub against each other. The molten material, which already exists in the outer core of the planet, travels to the other parts through cracks and fissures. In the process, it also melts the solid rock walls that come in contact with it.
What is Lava?
Effusive volcano
Due to the intense pressure, high temperature, density change, and mixtures of gases in the interior of the Earth, this molten rock material is pushed towards the surface of the Earth via cracks in the Earth's crust. Once it comes to the surface, it is known as lava.
What is Magma Made Of?
Magma is primarily made up of elements like:
  • Oxygen
  • Silicon
  • Aluminum
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Titanium
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous

As the amount of oxygen and silica in the molten matter is high, it is ideal to classify it into different types depending on its silica content. The four different types of magma, broadly categorized on the basis of silica content are Ultramafic, Mafic, Intermediate, and Felsic.
Types of Magma
Ultramafic magma
Ultramafic magma is extremely low in silica, with less than 45 percent of the same, but rich in heavier elements like iron and magnesium. It can have a temperature of about 2732 °F. It has very low viscosity and thus, its eruptive behavior is gentle.
Mafic magma
Mafic magma is relatively poor in silica content, with less than 50 percent of it, but rich in heavy elements like iron, magnesium, and calcium. It can have a temperature as high as 2372 °F. It is very explosive in nature.
Intermediate magma
Intermediate magma contains 60 percent silica, but the magnesium and iron content in it is very low. Very explosive in nature, its temperature can be as high as 1832 °F.
Felsic magma
Felsic magma contains more than 70 percent silica content, but its iron and magnesium content is negligible. Highly viscous, its temperature can be as high as 1652 °F.
Did you know?
The viscosity of magma is defined as its resistance to flow. It has a direct relationship with its silica content, i.e., more the silica content, the greater the viscosity.
The composition of magma undergoes certain changes as it ascends to the surface. As it makes its way up, it melts the rock structures surrounding the upward flow and integrates the elements present in them. This, in turn, produces an intermediate composition of the same. The difference in magma composition can also be attributed to the fact that a particular rock is melted at different temperatures at different depths, but this is a relatively rare phenomena.
Silicon Element
Calcium Element Of Periodic Table
Sodium Element Periodic Table
Symbol For The Chemical Element Potassium
Iron Element Of Periodic Table
Aluminium Element Of Periodic Table
Titanium Element Of Periodic Table
Oxygen Element Periodic Table
Fresh Lava From The Hawaiian Islands
Flowing Lava Volcano Hawaii
Island Volcano National Park