Igneous rocks display a large and varied range of textures and compositions, reflecting complex magma pathways, differentiation processes and cooling histories. Integrating geochemical analyses with petrographic and textural information allows us to gain valuable insights into the details of the magma system: the rock's texture serves as a window into the crystallization history of the magma, while the compositions of the components (crystals and glass) document the conditions and pathways of evolution. In this issue of Elements we take a look at the frontiers in igneous petrology, focussing on the state of the art in textural and microgeochemical analysis and on how we can use some of the latest approaches to unravel the complexities of the magmatic system.

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