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Examples of Foliated Metamorphic Rocks

All three of the following rocks have the same parent rock: a sedimentary rock called shale that forms from mud and clay in environments such as ocean floors and swamps. When shale is metamorphosed to different grades it forms different types of foliated metamorphic rocks.

Rock

Picture

(click for larger image)

Features Metamorphic Grade Other information
Slate

(Courtesy NPS)

It looks like shale because it is dark in color and will break into thin flat layers like shale often does. Unlike shale, slate makes a ringing sound when you hit two pieces together. Low grade Used for walkways and patios.
Schist

(Courtesy NPS)

There are several different types of schist such as mica schist, garnet schist, and chlorite schist depending on which minerals are abundant in the rock. The picture on the left shows a mica schist. However, all schist contains mica and often has rather large crystals of it. Intermediate grade Can you find the garnets in this picture of garnet schist?
Gneiss (pronounced "nice")

(Courtesy USGS)

This striped rock often looks a bit like fudge swirl ice cream. The light colored layers are usually quartz and feldspar and the dark layers (the fudge!) are mostly mica. High grade The gneiss is nice in the Rocky Mountains! Check out these pictures of gneiss near Lake Isabelle!
Last modified August 11, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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TES XXVI, 3 fall 2010 The Fall 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on rocks and minerals, including articles on minerals and mining, the use of minerals in society, and rare earth minerals, and includes 3 posters!

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