Psammite (Greek: psammitēs "(made) from sand", from psammos "sand")[1] is a general term for sandstone. It is equivalent to the Latin-derived term arenite[2][3] and is commonly used in various publications to describe a metamorphosed sedimentary rock with a dominantly sandstone protolith.[4] In Europe, this term was formerly used for a fine-grained, fissile, clayey sandstone.[3] Pettijohn [5] gives the following descriptive terms based on grain size, avoiding the use of terms such as "clay" or "argillaceous", which carry an implication of chemical composition:

Descriptive size terms
Texture Common Greek Latin
Coarse gravel(ly) psephite (psephitic) rudite (rudaceous)
Medium sand(y) psammite (psammitic) arenite (arenaceous)
Fine clay(ey) pelite (pelitic) lutite (lutaceous)


  1. ^ ψαμμίτης, ψάμμος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ U.S. Bureau of Mines Staff (1996) Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, & Related Terms. Report SP-96-1, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Bureau of Mines, Washington, D.C.
  3. ^ a b Neuendorf, K.K.E., J.P. Mehl, Jr., and J.A. Jackson, J.A., eds. (2005) Glossary of Geology (5th ed.). Alexandria, Virginia, American Geological Institute, Washington, DC 779 pp.
  4. ^ Tyrell, G. W. (1921) Some points in petrographic nomenclature. Geological Magazine. v. 58, no. 11, pp. 494–502.
  5. ^ Pettijohn F. J. (1975), Sedimentary Rocks, Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-045191-2

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