The rock, which chiefly composed of quartz, is the metamorphic product of a sandstone.Quartzite not to be confused with the mineral quartz, is a hard, metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts.
Pure quartzite is usually white to grey. Quartzites often occur in various shades of pink and red due to varying amounts of iron oxide. Other colours are commonly due to impurities of minor amounts of other minerals.
In true metamorphic quartzite, also called meta-quartzite, the individual quartz grains have recrystallized along with the former cementing material to form an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals. Minor amounts of former cementing materials, iron oxide, carbonate and clay, are often recrystallized and have migrated under the pressure to form streaks and lenses within the quartzite. Virtually all original textures and structure have usually been erased by the metamorphism.
Quartzite is very resistant to chemical weathering and often forms ridges and resistant hilltops. The nearly pure silica content of the rock provides little to form soil from and therefore the quartzite ridges are often bare or covered only with a very thin soil and little vegetation.