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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Quartzite, not to be confused with the mineral quartz, is a hard, metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone.
  • Orthoquartzite is a very pure quartz sandstone composed of usually well rounded quartz grains cemented by silica.
  • Quartzite is very resistant to chemical weathering and often forms ridges and resistant hilltops.
  • Pure quartzite is usually white to grey.
  • Quartzites often occur in various shades of pink and red due to varying amounts of iron oxide.

Process

  • Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts.
  • It is speculated that the weathered zones may represent the lower parts of a previous deeply weathered crustal layer which may be coupled to the formation of the quartzitic inselbergs.
  • Dissolutional landforms on quartz sandstones or quartzites are also formed by a variety of physical and chemical processes.
  • The beds of limestone alternate with layers of mostly sand or silt that was probably flushed into the seas at river deltas. Layers of sandy materials were later transformed by pressure (compaction) into sandstone or quartzite.
  • Quartzite is a stone composed almost entirely of quartz grains (or silica) which is derived from sandstone or to a lesser extent chert. (Note: chert is a rock composed mostly of the mineral chalcedony. Chalcedony is the name for quartz with microscopically small crystals).

Application

  • Quartzite -- usually dyed to some pleasing color -- has been tumbled or otherwise fashioned into decorative items such as the illustrated paperweight.
  • A large percentage of the quartzites used as gemrocks occur in metamorphosed sedimentary rock sequences -- i.e., they are metamorphosed sandstones (metaquartzites).
  • The texture anf frictional properties of PCC overlays, one constructed with crushed granite and the other with crushed quartzite coarse aggregate, were compared to an overlay constructed with locally available crushed limestone.

Market

  • The export of blocks and sawed slabs of quartzite and, above all, granites, reached the figure of US $ 212 million and 1.2 million tons, which amounts to 20.32% and almost 50% respectively, of the total exports.
  • The greatest increase in sales (+91.17%) was registered in the products of soapstone, while the smallest change took place in solid quartzite (+1.6%).
  • The South African stand at the Marmomacc Dimension Stone Exhibition in Verona, received a number of inquiries on the availability of good quality slate and quartzite for the manufacture of tiles.
  • The Indian and Spanish exhibitors displayed an extensive range of slate and quartzite tiles.
  • It appears that there is good export potential for slate and quartzite.

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