Quartzite is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock composed almost entirely of quartz. It forms when a quartz-rich sandstone is altered by the heat, pressure, and chemical activity of metamorphism. These conditions recrystallize the sand grains and the silica cement that binds them together. The result is a network of interlocking quartz grains of incredible strength.The interlocking crystalline structure of quartzite makes it a hard, tough, durable rock.
Because of its hardness and angular shape, crushed quartzite is often used as railway ballast. Quartzite is a decorative stone and may be used to cover walls, as roofing tiles, as flooring, and stairsteps. Its use for countertops in kitchens is expanding rapidly. It is harder and more resistant to stains than granite. Crushed quartzite is sometimes used in road construction. Because of its highly abrasive nature, it is also used in water-jet cutting applications.