Figure 2. Peridot in basalt.
Figure 3. Sample of dunite from Dun Mountain.
Olivine is any of a group of silicate minerals which are orthosilicates of magnesium and iron (Mg, Fe)2SiO4. Olivine forms olive-green crystals in the orthorhombic system, and occurs commonly in igneous rock (see Figure 1), chiefly basalt, gabbro, and peridotite (see Figure 4). The transparent variety peridot is used as a gemstone (see Figure 2). Olivine is also found in some meteorites, such as carbonaceous chondrites.
|Figure 1. Samples of olivine.
Dunite is a coarse-grained igneous rock of color ranging from light yellowish green to an emerald green, composed almost entirely of olivine (see Figure 3). It occurs at Dun Mountain, New Zealand, from which it takes its name.
Peridot is a gem variety of transparent green olivine. Large crystals are found on St John's Island in the Red Sea and in Burma.
Peridotite is a dark, course-grained igneous rock composed
mainly of olivine with some pyroxene and hornblende but little feldspar;
it alters to serpentine. Some varieties
of peridotite bear chromium ore, platinum,
or diamonds. Rocks that consist mainly of
olivine are called dunites.
|Figure 4. Peridotite.