Mesostasis material present in the interstices of volcanic rocks is the main cause of the alkali-aggregate reaction (AAR) in concretes made with these rock aggregates. Mesostasis often is referred to as volcanic glass, because it has amorphous features when analyzed by optical microscopy. However, this study demonstrates that mesostasis in the interstitials of volcanic rocks most often consists of micro to cryptocrystalline mineral phases of quartz, feldspars, and clays. Mesostasis has been identified as having different characteristics, and, thus, this new characterization calls for a re-evaluation of their influence on the reactivity of the volcanic rocks. The main purpose of this study is to correlate the characteristics of mesostasis with the AAR in mortar bars containing basalts and rhyolites. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.