Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey.
The most common uses for this rock are as aggregate in highway construction, railroad ballast, and tile. Basalt is also a major component of asphalt.
On Earth, most basalt magmas have formed by decompression melting of the mantle. Basalt has also formed on Earth's Moon, Mars, Venus, and even on the asteroid Vesta.
The term basalt is at times applied to shallow intrusive rocks with a composition typical of basalt, but rocks of this composition with a phaneritic (coarse) groundmass are generally referred to as dolerite (also called diabase) or gabbro.
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