An intimate physical and chemical interplay between crystals and melt in magmatic systems gives rise to a vast diversity of igneous rocks and the very structure of terrestrial planets. Yet the actual physical means by which this happens is unclear. The long-standing notion of crystals nucleating, growing, and settling ad infinitum from the interior of large pools of magma to eventually form continental rocks is foundering. Processes operating at the smallest scales within marginal solidification fronts and in mingling crystal slurries throughout highly integrated, vertically extended mush columns give rise to planetary-scale effects.

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