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Medium- to coarse-grained metamorphic rock with parallel, somewhat irregular banding that has little tendency to split along planes. Gneiss is the principal rock over extensive metamorphic terrains. Orthogneiss is formed by the metamorphism of igneous rocks; paragneiss results from the metamorphism of original sedimentary rocks. Pencil gneiss contains rod-shaped individual minerals or segregations of minerals, and augen gneiss contains large lenticular mineral grains or mineral aggregates having the appearance of eyes scattered through the rock.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on gneiss, visit Britannica.com.