Mafic is a term used in geology for silicate minerals, magmas, and rocks which have relatively high concentrations of the heavier elements. The term is a combination of "magnesium" and "ferric," the Latin word for iron, but mafic magmas also are rich in calcium and sodium.
Mafic minerals are usually dark in color and have specific gravities greater than 3. Common rock-forming mafic minerals include olivine, pyroxene, amphibole, biotite and other micas, augite and the plagioclase feldspars. Common mafic rocks include basalt and gabbro.
In terms of chemistry, mafic rocks are on the other side of the rock spectrum from the so-called felsic rocks.
|Rock Texture||Name of Mafic Rock|
|Coarse grained (phaneritic)||Gabbro|
|Coarse grained and porphyritic||Porphyritic gabbro|
|Fine grained (aphanitic)||Basalt|
|Fine grained and porphyritic||Porphyritic basalt|
|Pyroclastic||Basalt tuff or breccia|
|Many small vesicles||Scoria|
|Glassy||Tachylyte or palagonite|