Origin of Magmas of the Bowen’s Series

  • Takeru Yanagi
Part of the Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences book series (LNEARTH, volume 136)


Here, we examine history to identify how petrological problems related to the origin of continental crust have been studied up to the present day. Granitic plutons are abundant, and are representative rocks that characterize the continental crust. Their chemical compositions are quite different from those of basalts formed in the mantle. The problem of genesis of granitic plutons is the question of how to form a granitic magma from a basaltic magma produced in the mantle. N. L. Bowen of the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution of Washington was the first to engage in study to solve this problem, based on melting experiments. He eagerly and energetically conducted numerous melting experiments to derive rules of crystallization from the experimental data. Then, he selected and organized hypotheses that were discussed at that time, and finally built and proposed a unifying theory in 1928 to explain the genesis of various igneous rocks through crystallization differentiation from a parental basaltic magma (Bowen, 1928).


Volcanic Rock Partial Melting Oxygen Fugacity Basaltic Andesite Water Vapor Pressure 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FukuokaJapan

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