Find

Collect

Name

Play

Link

Home

Neighborhood Rocks                                     Search this Site

Pink Quartzite ("KWARTZ-ite") 

In our area, pink quartzite is used as both a decorative landscape stone (called "Tiffany Pink" and "Pink Starburst") and as gravel under railroad tracks.

To learn more about pink quartzite, scroll farther down this page.

  

  

bulletHow to recognize pink quartzite
bulletOther rocks that look like pink quartzite
bulletWhere pink quartzite came from
bulletHow pink quartzite formed
bulletOther names for pink quartzite
bulletLinks to Web sites about pink quartzite
  

How to recognize pink quartzite

bulletThis rock is mostly pink in color, although some pieces may also be reddish, gray, or tan.
bulletIts grains (when you can see them) are usually sand-sized bits of quartz.  
bulletThe sand grains are so thoroughly cemented with that the rock breaks through the grains of sand as easily as around them.  (Sandstone breaks around the grains.)
bulletYou cannot scratch quartzite with a nail or knife.  However, you may rub off a few loose sand grains.  (See more about the scratch test.)
bulletQuartzite made almost entirely of the mineral quartz.
    

Other rocks that look like pink quartzite

Red granite:  
bulletRed granite is also pink or reddish in color and hard to scratch.
bulletHowever, red granite is made of several kinds of minerals.  It has crystals of pink or reddish feldspar crystals, grayish or purplish quartz, and sometimes flecks of mica or darker minerals.
    
Pegmatite:  
bulletPegmatite is often pinkish in color, and most pieces are hard to scratch.
bulletLike granite, pegmatite is also made of several types of minerals:  pinkish feldspar, whitish quartz, and silvery mica.  
bulletPegmatite crystals are much larger than quartzite or granite crystals (often bigger than your fingernail!)
  
Saprolite:  
bulletSaprolite is also reddish in color, and freshly broken surfaces may be hard to scratch.
bulletSaprolite is weathered granite.  Like granite, it has crystals of pink or reddish feldspar crystals, grayish or purplish quartz, and sometimes flecks of mica or darker minerals.
  

Where pink quartzite came from

We've seen similar pink quartzite in western Minnesota 
and eastern South Dakota.  They quarry it, crush it, and 
use it to make asphalt for roads.  (Many highways in that 
area are pink!)  The geologic name for this rock is
"Sioux Quartzite" (named for a Native American group 
that lived in that area.)

So, we're wondering if our pink quartzite was also quarried
in that area, then shipped to Chicago by train or truck.

  

How pink quartzite formed

Pink quartzite was originally a sandstone, made of grains 
of quartz sand cemented into rock.  This rock was later 
altered by heat and pressure, which sealed the grains even 
more tightly together, changing it into much tougher quartzite 
rock.

  

Other names for pink quartzite

We use the scientific name "quartzite" for this rock,
but it is also known by other names:

bulletWe've seen 50-pound bags of pink quartzite gravel labeled "Tiffany Pink" and "Pink Starburst."

  

Here are some ways to classify quartzite (by grouping it with similar types of rocks):
  
bulletQuartzite is a metamorphic rock, because it was changed by heat and pressure from one rock type into another.
  
bulletQuartzite is sometimes classified as a meta-sedimentary rock, because it was originally a sedimentary rock.

   

Links to Web sites about pink quartzite

Minnesota Geological Survey Virtual Egg Carton shows a 
sample of pinkish Sioux Quartzite from southwest Minnesota.  
(We think that our pink quartzite may come from that part of 
the United States.
   < http://www.geo.umn.edu/mgs/virt_egg/qtzite.htm >

The Quartzite Rock Association advocates for the use of 
Sioux Quartzite in road and building construction.  (Their
homepage shows a picture of a quartzite quarry.)
   < http://www.quartzite.com/index.htm >

The Stone Age Reference Collection Web site discusses 
quartzite as a raw material for making stone tools.
   < http://www.hf.uio.no/iakk/roger/lithic/quartzite.html >

 

   


Find

Collect

Name

Play

Link

Home

Copyright 2001-2002 Eric D. Gyllenhaal                                          Search this Site
Webmaster@SaltTheSandbox.org

Neighborhood Rocks is part of the Salt the Sandbox Web. 
For more information visit the Salt the Sandbox home page.

This page was created on May 2, 2001, and it was last updated on July 27, 2002.