The pyroxenes (commonly abbreviated to Px) are a group of important rock-forming inosilicate found in many igneous rocks. Pyroxenes have the general formula XY(Si,Al)2O6, where X represents calcium (II) or magnesium or lithium , and Y represents ions of smaller size, such as chromium, manganese, scandium or even iron (II). Although aluminium substitutes extensively for silicon in silicates such as feldspars , the substitution occurs only to a limited extent in most pyroxenes. They share a common structure consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra system are known as clinopyroxenes and those that crystallize in the orthorhombic system are known as orthopyroxenes.
The name pyroxene is derived from the Ancient Greek words for fire (πυρ) and stranger (ξένος). Pyroxenes were so named because of their presence in volcanic lavas, where they are sometimes seen as crystals embedded in volcanic glass ; it was assumed they were impurities in the glass, hence the name "fire strangers". However, they are simply early-forming minerals that crystallized before the lava erupted.
The upper mantle of Earth is composed mainly of olivine are the major minerals in basalt