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"Argillite" may also refer to Argillite, Kentucky.
Sedimentary rock
A piece of black argillite from Haida Gwaii, Canada
indurated clay particles
Grey chunks of graptolitic argillite on Pakri Peninsula, Estonia; yellowish and white chunks are limestone Graptoliitargilliit Pakri.jpg
Grey chunks of graptolitic argillite on Pakri Peninsula, Estonia; yellowish and white chunks are limestone

Argillite ( /ˈɑːrɪlt/ ) is a fine-grained sedimentary rock composed predominantly of indurated clay particles. Argillaceous rocks are basically lithified muds and oozes. They contain variable amounts of silt-sized particles. The argillites grade into shale when the fissile layering typical of shale is developed. Another name for poorly lithified argillites is mudstone .[ citation needed ] These rocks, although variable in composition, are typically high in aluminium and silica with variable alkali and alkaline earth cations. The term pelitic or pelite is often applied to these sediments and rocks. Metamorphism of argillites produces slate, phyllite, and pelitic schist.


Belt Supergroup

The Belt Supergroup, an assemblage of rocks of late Precambrian (Mesoproterozoic) age, includes thick sequences of argillite, as well as other metamorphosed or semi-metamorphosed mudstones. [1] It is exposed primarily in western Montana, including the Bitterroot Valley and Bitterroot Mountains, the Missoula area, Flathead Lake, and Glacier National Park, and in northern Idaho. There are also minor occurrences in northwestern Washington and western Wyoming. [2] Excellent outcrops of deep purple, wine red, red, blue, turquoise, and green argillites of the Belt Supergroup can be seen in Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana and in Wolf Creek Canyon along US Interstate 15 in west-central Montana. [3]

"Black slate"

The Haida carvings of Haida Gwaii along the coast of British Columbia are notable aboriginal art treasures created from a type of a hard, fine black silt argillite, sometimes called "black slate". The black slate occurs only at a quarry on a Slatechuck Mountain in the upper basin of Slatechuck Creek, near the town of Skidegate on Graham Island. At one time, around 1900, it was shipped to Victoria for manufacturing; today the Haida have a monopoly on use of the argillite. Argillite carvings are synonymous with Haida artwork and are one of the few art forms on the Northwest Coast that is the exclusive right of one cultural group. This artwork has been of high quality and prized around the world since the Haida first began carving it to trade and sell to sailors around 1800. Contemporary Haida carvers continue the tradition.

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Shale A fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock

Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock, composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering or bedding less than one centimeter in thickness, called fissility. It is the most common sedimentary rock.

Metamorphic rock Rock that was subjected to heat and pressure

Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock types, in a process called metamorphism, which means "change in form". The original rock (protolith) is subjected to heat and pressure, causing profound physical or chemical change. The protolith may be a sedimentary, igneous, or existing metamorphic rock.

Sedimentology encompasses the study of modern sediments such as sand, silt, and clay, and the processes that result in their formation, transport, deposition and diagenesis. Sedimentologists apply their understanding of modern processes to interpret geologic history through observations of sedimentary rocks and sedimentary structures.


A pelite or metapelite is a metamorphosed fine-grained sedimentary rock, i.e. mudstone or siltstone. The term was earlier used by geologists to describe a clay-rich, fine-grained clastic sediment or sedimentary rock, i.e. mud or a mudstone, the metamorphosed version of which would technically have been a metapelite. It was equivalent to the now little-used Latin-derived term lutite. A semipelite is defined in part as having similar chemical composition but being of a crystalloblastic nature.

Mudrock Class of fine grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks

Mudrocks are a class of fine grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks. The varying types of mudrocks include: siltstone, claystone, mudstone, slate, and shale. Most of the particles of which the stone is composed are less than 0.0625 mm and are too small to study readily in the field. At first sight the rock types look quite similar; however, there are important differences in composition and nomenclature. There has been a great deal of disagreement involving the classification of mudrocks. There are a few important hurdles to classification, including:

  1. Mudrocks are the least understood, and one of the most understudied sedimentary rocks to date
  2. It is difficult to study mudrock constituents, due to their diminutive size and susceptibility to weathering on outcrops
  3. And most importantly, there is more than one classification scheme accepted by scientists
Clastic rock Sedimentary rocks made of mineral or rock fragments

Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals and rock. A clast is a fragment of geological detritus, chunks and smaller grains of rock broken off other rocks by physical weathering. Geologists use the term clastic with reference to sedimentary rocks as well as to particles in sediment transport whether in suspension or as bed load, and in sediment deposits.

Called the Windermere Group in the United States and the Windermere Supergroup, Windermere Series, and Windermere System in Canada, the Windermere sequence of North America is an extensive assemblage of sedimentary and volcanic rocks of latest Precambrian (Neoproterozoic) age. It is present in the northern part of the North American Cordillera, stretching from Montana, Idaho, and Washington in the northwestern United States, through Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon in western Canada. It was named for the Windermere map-area in the East Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia by J.F. Walker in 1926.

Belt Supergroup

The Belt Supergroup is an assemblage of primarily fine-grained sedimentary rocks and mafic intrusive rocks of late Precambrian (Mesoproterozoic) age. It is more than 15 kilometres (10 mi) thick, covers an area of some 200,000 km2, and is considered to be one of the world's best-exposed and most accessible sequences of Mesoproterozoic rocks. It was named after the Big Belt Mountains in west-central Montana. It is present in western Montana and northern Idaho, with minor occurrences in northeastern Washington and western Wyoming. It extends into Canada where the equivalent rocks, which are called the Purcell Supergroup, are exposed in southeastern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta. The rocks of the Belt Supergroup contain economically significant deposits of lead, zinc, silver, copper, gold, and other metals in a number of areas, and some of the Belt rocks contain fossil stromatolites.

Geology of Cape Town Geological formations and their history in the vicinity of Cape Town

Cape Town lies at the south-western corner of the continent of Africa. It is bounded to the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north and east by various other municipalities in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Animikie Group

The Animikie Group is a geologic group composed of sedimentary and metasedimentary rock, having been originally deposited between 2,500 and 1,800 million years ago during the Paleoproterozoic era, within the Animikie Basin. This group of formations is geographically divided into the Gunflint Range, the Mesabi and Vermilion ranges, and the Cuyuna Range. On the map, the Animikie Group is the dark gray northeast-trending belt which ranges from south-central Minnesota, U.S., up to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The Gunflint Iron Range is the linear black formation labeled G, the Mesabi Iron Range is the jagged black linear formation labeled F, and Cuyuna Iron Range is the two black spots labeled E. The gabbro of the Duluth Complex, intruded during the formation of the Midcontinent Rift, separates the Mesabi and Gunflint iron ranges; it is shown by the speckled area wrapping around the western end of Lake Superior.

The Purcell Supergroup is composed primarily of argillites, carbonate rocks, quartzites, and mafic igneous rocks of late Precambrian (Mesoproterozoic) age. It is present in an area of about 15,000 km2 in southwestern Alberta and southeastern British Columbia, Canada, and it extends into the northwestern United States where it is called the Belt Supergroup. It was named for the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia by R.A. Daly in 1912. Fossil stromatolites and algal structures are common in some of the Purcell Supergroup rocks, and the Sullivan ore body at Kimberley, British Columbia, a world-class deposit of lead, zinc, and silver, lies within the Alderidge Formation in the lower part of the Purcell.

Geology of Ghana

The geology of Ghana is primarily very ancient crystalline basement rock, volcanic belts and sedimentary basins, affected by periods of igneous activity and two major orogeny mountain building events. Aside from modern sediments and some rocks formed within the past 541 million years of the Phanerozoic Eon, along the coast, many of the rocks in Ghana formed close to one billion years ago or older leading to five different types of gold deposit formation, which gave the region its former name Gold Coast.

The geology of Malawi formed on extremely ancient crystalline basement rock, which was metamorphosed and intruded by igneous rocks during several orogeny mountain building events in the past one billion years. The rocks of the Karoo Supergroup and newer sedimentary units deposited across much of Malawi in the last 251 million years, in connection with a large rift basin on the supercontinent Gondwana and the more recent rifting that has created the East African Rift, which holds Lake Malawi. The country has extensive mineral reserves, many of them poorly understand or not exploited, including coal, vermiculite, rare earth elements and bauxite.

Geology of Tanzania

The geology of Tanzania began to form in the Precambrian, in the Archean and Proterozoic eons, in some cases more than 2.5 billion years ago. Igneous and metamorphic crystalline basement rock forms the Archean Tanzania Craton, which is surrounded by the Proterozoic Ubendian belt, Mozambique Belt and Karagwe-Ankole Belt. The region experienced downwarping of the crust during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, as the massive Karoo Supergroup deposited. Within the past 100 million years, Tanzania has experienced marine sedimentary rock deposition along the coast and rift formation inland, which has produced large rift lakes. Tanzania has extensive, but poorly explored and exploited natural resources, including coal, gold, diamonds, graphite and clays.

The geology of Uganda extends back to the Archean and Proterozoic eons of the Precambrian, and much of the country is underlain by gneiss, argillite and other metamorphic rocks that are sometimes over 2.5 billion years old. Sedimentary rocks and new igneous and metamorphic units formed throughout the Proterozoic and the region was partially affected by the Pan-African orogeny and Snowball Earth events. Through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, ancient basement rock has weathered into water-bearing saprolite and the region has experienced periods of volcanism and rift valley formation. The East Africa Rift gives rise to thick, more geologically recent sediment sequences and the country's numerous lakes. Uganda has extensive natural resources, particularly gold.

Geology of Zambia

The geological history of Zambia begins in the Proterozoic eon of the Precambrian. The igneous and metamorphic basement rocks tend to be highly metamorphosed and may have formed earlier in the Archean, but heat and pressure has destroyed evidence of earlier conditions. Major sedimentary and metamorphic groups formed in the mid-Proterozoic, followed by a series of glaciations in the Neoproterozoic and much of the Paleozoic which deposited glacial conglomerate as well as other sediments to form the Katanga Supergroup and rift-related Karoo Supergroup. Basalt eruptions blanketed the Karoo Supergroup in the Mesozoic and Zambia shifted to coal and sandstone formation. Geologically recent windblown sands from the Kalahari Desert and alluvial deposits near rivers play an important role in the modern surficial geology of Zambia. The country has extensive natural resources, particularly copper, but also cobalt, emeralds, other gemstones, uranium and coal.

The geology of Wisconsin includes Precambrian crystalline basement rock over three billion years old. A widespread marine environment during the Paleozoic flooded the region, depositing sedimentary rocks which cover most of the center and south of the state.

The geology of Montana includes thick sequences of Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks overlying ancient Archean and Proterozoic crystalline basement rock. Eastern Montana has considerable oil and gas resources, while the uplifted Rocky Mountains in the west, which resulted from the Laramide orogeny and other tectonic events have locations with metal ore.

The geology of Yukon includes sections of ancient Precambrian Proterozoic rock from the western edge of the proto-North American continent Laurentia, with several different island arc terranes added through the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic, driving volcanism, pluton formation and sedimentation.


  1. Schieber, J. 1990. Significance of styles of epicontinental shale sedimentation in the Belt basin, Mid-Proterozoic of Montana, U.S.A. Sedimentary Geology, v. 69, p. 297-312.
  2. Lori Tapanila and Paul Link. "Mesoproterozoic Belt Supergroup". Digital Geology of Idaho. Idaho State University, Department of Geosciences. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  3. Alt, D.D. and Hyndman, D.W. 1986. Roadside geology of Montana. Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, Montana, 427 p. ISBN   0-87842-202-1.