Rock Topics

Metamorphic Rocks (Part 1)

Metamorphic rocks are found mostly in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces of Virginia.  The Blue Ridge and Piedmont also contain many igneous rocks.  Igneous and metamorphic rocks are grouped together and called crystalline rocks.  Selected metamorphic rocks in Virginia are described below.

Slate and phyllite are quarried in the Arvonia district in the central Piedmont.

Buckingham slateSlate in Buckingham County (Photographs by Stan Johnson)

MapThe Arvonia Slate quarry, shown left, in Buckingham County, mines slate, a metamorphic rock.  The rock is split apart to make extremely durable roofing shingles (right).  Rare metamorphosed fossils have been found in the Arvonia Slate.


Augen gneiss can be found in an abandoned quarry in Floyd County in the Blue Ridge.

Augen gneiss
Augen gneiss (Photograph by Parvinder Sethi)

MapThis augen gneiss was found at a quarry along the Little River in the Blue Ridge of Floyd County.  Augens (in ovals) are the eye-shaped grains of minerals found in metamorphic rocks.  In this specimen, augens are made of orthoclase feldspar.

Soapstone is quarried in the western Piedmont in Albemarle and Nelson Counties.

SoapstoneSoapstone mines (Photographs by Palmer Sweet)

Soapstone is quarried in the Piedmont in Albemarle County, shown here.