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Sandstone that has been converted into a solid quartz rock. Quartzites are usually white; they fracture smoothly and break up into rubble under frost action. Sandstone may be converted to quartzite by precipitation of silica from waters below the Earth's surface; such rocks are called orthoquartzites, whereas those produced by recrystallization (metamorphism) are metaquartzites. Because they weather slowly, they tend to project as hills or mountain masses. Many prominent ridges in the Appalachian Mountains are composed of quartzite. Pure quartzites are a source of silica for metallurgical purposes and for the manufacture of silica brick. Quartzite is also quarried for paving and roofing materials.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on quartzite, visit Britannica.com.