Letter | Published:

A Rhyolitic Rock from Lake Tanganyika

Nature volume 30, page 193 | Download Citation



THE interesting note by Dr. H. J. Johnston-Lavis on a volcanic rock from the shores of Lake Nyassa (NATURE, p. 62) calls to my mind a couple of specimens in my collection which, with not a few others of interest, have perforce remained for some time undescribed. They were given to me by N. F. Robarts, Esq., F.G.S., who received them from Capt. Hore of the London Missionary Society, by whom they were collected at Cameron's Bay on the south-west of Lake Targanyika, a little north of the Lofu River. As they are evidently fragments of the same kind of rock, I have only had a slide prepared from one of them. The rock is externally of a pale yellowish—to reddish-gray colour; compact, but exhibiting faint traces of a fluidal structure, with occasional spots resembling small crystals of decomposed felspar. A fresh broken surface, however, shows the real colour to be a purplish brown, streaked and mottled with a pale reddish tint. Microscopic examination shows that the rock is a rhyolite, somewhat darkened with numerous specks of disseminated ferrite, with many clearer bands, indicative of a fluidal structure. In this matrix are scattered crystals of decomposed felspar, not exceeding 1 inch in diameter, and a few plates of a ferruginous mica, also exhibiting signs of decomposition, with two or three granules of quartz. With crossed Nicols a minute devitrification structure is exhibited by the slide as a whole, and this is coarser and stronger in the clearer bands. Here crystalline quartz is developed, which assumes with the felspars on occasion a spherulitic or sometimes approximately micrographitic structure. The larger felspar crystals are rather decomposed, but orthoclase and a plagioclastic felspar can be recognised. Many distinct granules of iron peroxide (? hæmatite) are scattered about. Examination with high powers causes me to doubt whether the devitrification is complete in all parts of the slide, and whether the phenomena are not rather due to the development of a large number of minute crystallites of not very regular form in an isotropic base. In this, however, there is nothing exceptional.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

About this article

Publication history





  1. Search for T. G. BONNEY in:


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.