Monday, 6 April 2015


Hornfels is from a German word means hornstone because of its much hardness and texture both resembled to animal horn is a metamorphic rock. These properties are due to fine grained non aligned crystals. Hornfels are also called as Whetstone in England. These rocks are mostly fine grained while the original rocks such as sandstone, shale, slate and limestone may be more or less fissile because to the presence of bedding or cleavage planes, these are inoperative in hornfels. These rocks may show banding due to bedding of the original rock but is differ in breaking than that of the original rock as they break into thin plates, hornfels breaks into cubicles.

How hornfels form?

Hornfels is a group designated for a series of contact metamorphism that have been baked and by the heat of magma chamber or from the intrusive igneous masses and are made into massive, hard, splintery, and in some cases exceedingly tough and durable. As of the contact metamorphism, pressure is not a factor in the formation of hornfels, it lacks the foliation as seen in many metamorphic rocks formed under high pressure and temperature. Pre-existing bedding and structure of the parent rock is generally destroyed in hornfels.

Types and colour of hornfels

The most common hornfels are the biotite hornfels which are dark brown to black with somewhat velvety luster owing to the abundance of small crystals of shinning black mica. The limestone hornfels are often white, yellow, pale green, brown and other colours. Although for the most part the constituent grains are too small to be determined by the unaided eye, there are often larger crystals of cordieritegarnet or andalusite scattered through the fine matrix, and these may become very prominent on the weathered faces of the rock.


Uses of hornfels are as an aggregate in the construction and road building.


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