They are soft and lustrous, with a peculiarly smooth feel, and though often confounded with mica-schists may be distinguished by their richness in magnesia; many of them contain tremolite or actinolite; others have residual grains of olivine or augite; and here also every gradation can be found between the unmodified igneous types and the perfectly metamorphic schists.
The larger ones polarize light, have angular outlines like those of crystals, and may even show twinning and definite optical properties by which they can be identified as belonging to felspar, augite or some other rock-forming mineral.
Some are black, very thin and curved like threads or hairs (trichites); often a group of these is seated on a small crystal of augite or magnetite and spreads outwards on all sides.
Quincy granite takes a very high polish, owing to the absence of mica and to the coarser cleavage of its hornblende and augite.
Magnesium is found widely distributed in nature, chiefly in the forms of silicate, carbonate and chloride, and occurring in the minerals olivine, hornblende, talc, asbestos, meerschaum, augite, dolomite, magnesite, carnallite, kieserite and kainite.
The cones themselves are composed largely of acid andesites, but many of the lavas are augite andesites and basalts.
The rocks of Tristan da Cunha are felspathic basalt, dolerite, augite-andesite, sideromelane and palagonite; some specimens of the basalt have porphyritic augite.
Chlorite arises from biotite, augite and hornblende.
In addition to the reddish or brownish argillaceous matrix it contains fresh or decomposed crystals of volcanic minerals, such as felspar, augite, hornblende, olivine and pumiceous or palagonitic rocks.
In Minahassa, at the northern extremity, there is a large area of tuffs and agglomerates consisting chiefly of augite andesite, and in this area there are many recent volcanic cones.
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