EPIDOSITE, in petrology, a typical member of a family of metamorphic rocks composed mainly of epidote and quartz. In colour they are pale yellow or greenish yellow, and they are hard and somewhat brittle. They may occur in more than one way and are derived from several kinds of rock. Some have been epidotic grits and sandstones; others are limestones which have undergone contact-alteration; probably the majority, however, are allied to epidiorite and amphibolite, and are local modifications of rocks which were primarily basic intrusions or lavas. The sedimentary epidosites occur with mica-schists, sheared grits and granulitic gneisses; they often show, on minute examination, the remains of clastic structures. The epidosites derived from limestones may contain a great variety of minerals such as calcite, augite, garnet scapolite, etc., but their source may usually be inferred from their close association with calc-silicate rocks in the field. The third group of epidosites may form bands, veins, or irregular streaks and nodules in masses of epidiorite and hornblende-schist. In microscopic section they are often merely a granular mosaic of quartz and epidote with some iron oxides and chlorite, but in other cases they retain much of the structure of the original rock though there has been a complete replacement of the former minerals by new ones. Epidosites when streaked and variegated have been cut and polished as ornamental stones. They are translucent and hard, and hence serve for brooch stones, and the simpler kinds of jewelry. These rocks occasionally carry gold in visible yellow specks.
(J. S. F.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)