Quartzite is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock that formed by the metamorphism of pure quartz sandstone. The intense heat and pressure of metamorphism causes the quartz grains to compact and become tightly intergrown with each other, resulting in very hard and dense quartzite. The name quartzite implies not only a high degree of induration (hardness), but also a high quartz content. Quartzite generally comprises greater than 90% percent quartz, and some examples, containing up to 99% quartz, and are the largest and purest concentrations of silica in the Earth's crust. Although a quartz-rich sandstone can look similar to quartzite, a fresh broken surface of quartzite will show breakage across quartz grains, whereas the sandstone will break around quartz grains. Quartzite also tends to have a sugary appearance and glassy lustre.
Quartzite is usually white or gray, but can be other light colors depending on the impurities in the parent sandstone.