• A. Nicolas
Part of the Petrology and Structural Geology book series (PESG, volume 4)


Ophiolite, Greek for ‘the snake stone’, appears to have received its first written definition by Brongniart (1813) as a serpentine matrix containing various minerals. Later in 1821 and 1827, Brongniart determined that volcanic and gabbroic rocks were also present, associated with cherts, and he ascribed an igneous origin to the ophiolite. Amstutz (1980) gives an excellent exegesis of these early contributions and traces the further use of the term and concept of ophiolite. This concept had been forged in the western Alps and Apennines where, thanks to talented Italian geologists, in particular A. Sismonda, B. Gastaldi, V. Novarese and S. Franchi, the study on metamorphic ophiolites (the ‘pietre verdi’) has rapidly progressed.


Oceanic Crust Magma Chamber Oceanic Lithosphere Sheet Dike Troodos Ophiolite 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Nicolas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of MontpellierFrance

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