Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: granite from Philip's Encyclopedia

Coarse-grained, light-grey, durable igneous rock, composed chiefly of feldspar and quartz, with some mica or hornblende. It is thought to have solidified from magma (molten rock). It is a valuable construction material.

Summary Article: granite
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Coarse-grained intrusive igneous rock, typically consisting of the minerals quartz, feldspar, and biotite mica. It may be pink or grey, depending on the composition of the feldspar. Granites are chiefly used as building materials.

Granite is formed when magma (molten rock) is forced between other rocks in the Earth's crust. It cools and crystallizes deep underground. As it cools slowly large crystals are formed. Granites often form large intrusions in the core of mountain ranges, and they are usually surrounded by zones of metamorphic rock (rock that has been altered by heat or pressure). Granite areas have characteristic moorland scenery. In exposed areas the bedrock may be weathered along joints and cracks to produce a tor, consisting of rounded blocks that appear to have been stacked upon one another.

Britain's largest quarry, Glensanda, near Fort William, Scotland, produces 5 million tonnes of granite a year.

Jointing of the granite occurs when pressure reduces on the sheets underground following the erosion of the rock layers above. The sheet springs up into a gentle dome, and joints and cracks occur. These are opened up or fall away under weathering processes such as chemical weathering and exfoliation.


The Rock Cycle


altered granite close-up

boundary wall


Norwegian fjord

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Granite
Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils

Colour Most commonly shades of white, grey, pink and red, but usually mottled in almost any combination of these. Colour index 0 to 30 ...

Full text Article GRANITE
The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales

A word often used for a range of hard rock, not all of which may be granite. Wales’s granite quarrying industry, sited generally near the sea for...

Full text Article Granite pegmatite
Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils

Colour White, pink and red, but unevenly coloured because of the large size of individual crystals. Grain size Very coarse to giant-grained...

See more from Credo