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This left branch is called a discontinuous reaction series because each mineral has a different crystalline structure.

Ordinarily, these reactions are not complete so that various amounts of each of these minerals may exist at any given time.

The right branch of the reaction series is a continuum in which the earliest formed calcium-rich feldspar crystals react with the sodium ions contained in the melt to become progressively more sodium rich.

As the crystallization process continues, the composition of the melt (liquid portion of a magma, excluding any solid material continually changes.

For example, at the stage when about 50 percent of the magma has solidified, the melt will be greatly depleted in iron, magnesium, and calcium, because these elements are found in the earliest formed minerals.

The general idea is that many different minerals are formed, which differ from one another in composition, even though they come from the same magma.

The mineral makeup of an igneous rock is ultimately determined by the chemical composition of the magma from which it crystallized.

Most scientists today believe that life has existed on the earth for billions of years.

This belief in long ages for the earth and the existence of life is derived largely from radiometric dating.

Lava (properly called magma before it erupts) fills large underground chambers called magma chambers.

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