Charnockite is applied to any orthopyroxene-bearing granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, composed mainly of quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

, perthite
Perthite is used to describe an intergrowth of two feldspars: a host grain of potassium-rich alkali feldspar includes exsolved lamellae or irregular intergrowths of sodic alkali feldspar . Typically the host grain is orthoclase or microcline, and the lamellae are albite...

 or antiperthite and orthopyroxene (usually hypersthene
Hypersthene is a common rock-forming inosilicate mineral belonging to the group of orthorhombic pyroxenes. Many references have formally abandoned this term, preferring to categorise this mineral as enstatite or ferrosilite. It is found in igneous and some metamorphic rocks as well as in stony and...

), as an end-member of the charnockite series.

Charnockite series

The charnockite suite or series is a group of igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

s, variably metamorphosed of wide distribution and great importance in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Ceylon, Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 and Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. The name was given by Dr T. H. Holland
Thomas Henry Holland
Sir Thomas Henry Holland KCSI KCIE FRS was a British geologist and educational administrator.Thomas Holland was born in Helston, Cornwall. In 1884, he won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Science, graduating with a first class degree in Geology...

 from the fact that the tombstone of Job Charnock
Job Charnock
Job Charnock was a servant and administrator of the English East India Company, traditionally regarded as the founder of the city of Calcutta.-Early life and career:...

, the founder of Calcutta, is made of a block of this rock.


The charnockite series includes rocks of many different types, some being felsic and rich in quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 and microcline
Microcline is an important igneous rock-forming tectosilicate mineral. It is a potassium-rich alkali feldspar. Microcline typically contains minor amounts of sodium. It is common in granite and pegmatites. Microcline forms during slow cooling of orthoclase; it is more stable at lower temperatures...

, others mafic and full of pyroxene
The pyroxenes are a group of important rock-forming inosilicate minerals found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks. They share a common structure consisting of single chains of silica tetrahedra and they crystallize in the monoclinic and orthorhombic systems...

 and olivine
The mineral olivine is a magnesium iron silicate with the formula 2SiO4. It is a common mineral in the Earth's subsurface but weathers quickly on the surface....

, while there are also intermediate varieties corresponding mineralogically to norite
Norite is a mafic intrusive igneous rock composed largely of the calcium-rich plagioclase labradorite and hypersthene with olivine. Norite is essentially indistinguishable from gabbro without thin section study under the petrographic microscope...

s, quartz-norites and diorite
Diorite is a grey to dark grey intermediate intrusive igneous rock composed principally of plagioclase feldspar , biotite, hornblende, and/or pyroxene. It may contain small amounts of quartz, microcline and olivine. Zircon, apatite, sphene, magnetite, ilmenite and sulfides occur as accessory...

s. A special feature, recurring in many members of the group, is the presence of strongly pleochroic
Pleochroism is an optical phenomenon in which a substance appears to be different colors when observed at different angles with polarized light.- Background :Anisotropic crystals will have optical properties that vary with the direction of light...

, reddish or green hypersthene
Hypersthene is a common rock-forming inosilicate mineral belonging to the group of orthorhombic pyroxenes. Many references have formally abandoned this term, preferring to categorise this mineral as enstatite or ferrosilite. It is found in igneous and some metamorphic rocks as well as in stony and...

. They may be named by adding orthopyroxene or specifically hypersthene to the normal igneous nomenclature (e.g. hypersthene-granite), but specific names are in widespread use such as norite, mangerite
Mangerite is a plutonic intrusive igneous rock, that is essentially a hypersthene-bearing monzonite. It often occurs in association with norite, anorthosite, charnockite and rapakivi granite in Proterozoic metamorphic belts....

, enderbite
In geology, enderbite is primarily an igneous rock of the charnockite series, consisting essentially of quartz, antiperthite , orthopyroxene and magnetite, and is equivalent to an orthopyroxene bearing tonalite. It is named for its occurrence in Enderby Land, Antarctica.-References:Classification...

, jotunite, farsundite, opdalite and charnockite (in the strict sense); equivalents of gabbro
Gabbro refers to a large group of dark, coarse-grained, intrusive mafic igneous rocks chemically equivalent to basalt. The rocks are plutonic, formed when molten magma is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and cools into a crystalline mass....

, monzonite
Monzonite is an intermediate igneous intrusive rock composed of approximately equal amounts of sodic to intermediate plagioclase and orthoclase feldspars with minor amounts of hornblende, biotite and other minerals...

, tonalite
Tonalite is an igneous, plutonic rock, of felsic composition, with phaneritic texture. Feldspar is present as plagioclase with 10% or less alkali feldspar. Quartz is present as more than 20% of the rock. Amphiboles and pyroxenes are common accessory minerals.In older references tonalite is...

, monzodiorite, monzogranite, granodiorite
Granodiorite is an intrusive igneous rock similar to granite, but containing more plagioclase than orthoclase-type feldspar. Officially, it is defined as a phaneritic igneous rock with greater than 20% quartz by volume where at least 65% of the feldspar is plagioclase. It usually contains abundant...

 and granite.


Many of the minerals of these rocks are schillerized, as they contain minute platy or rod-shaped inclusions, disposed parallel to certain crystallographic planes or axes. The reflection of light from the surfaces of these inclusions gives the minerals often a peculiar appearance, e.g. the quartz is blue and opalescent, the feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

 has a milky shimmer like moonshine, the hypersthene has a bronzy metalloidal gleam. Very often the different rock types occur in close association as one set forms bands alternating with another set,or veins traversing it, and where one facies
In geology, facies are a body of rock with specified characteristics. Ideally, a facies is a distinctive rock unit that forms under certain conditions of sedimentation, reflecting a particular process or environment....

 appears the others also usually are found.

The term charnockite in this sense is consequently not the name of a rock, but of an assemblage of rock types. The assemblage is connected by origin, the differentiation of the same parent magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

. The banded structure which these rocks commonly present in the field is only in a small measure due to plastic
Plasticity (physics)
In physics and materials science, plasticity describes the deformation of a material undergoing non-reversible changes of shape in response to applied forces. For example, a solid piece of metal being bent or pounded into a new shape displays plasticity as permanent changes occur within the...

 deformation, but is to a large extent original, and has been produced by flow in a viscous crystallizing intrusive magma, together with differentiation or segregation of the mass into bands of different chemical and mineralogical composition. There have also been, of course, earth movements acting on the solid rock at a later time and injection of dikes both parallel to and across the primary foliation.


A striking fact is the very wide distribution of rocks of this group in the southern hemisphere; but they, or rocks very similar to them, occur in Norway, France, Germany, Scotland and North America, though in these countries they have been mostly described as pyroxene granulite
Granulites are medium to coarse–grained metamorphic rocks that have experienced high temperature metamorphism, composed mainly of feldspars sometimes associated with quartz and anhydrous ferromagnesian minerals, with granoblastic texture and gneissose to massive structure...

s, pyroxene gneisses, anorthosite
Anorthosite is a phaneritic, intrusive igneous rock characterized by a predominance of plagioclase feldspar , and a minimal mafic component...

s, &c. They are usually of Proterozoic
The Proterozoic is a geological eon representing a period before the first abundant complex life on Earth. The name Proterozoic comes from the Greek "earlier life"...

 age (late Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...


In India they form the Nilgiri Hills, the Shevaroys, the Biligirirangan Hills
Biligirirangan Hills
The Biligiriranga Hills, commonly called B R Hills, is a hill range situated in south-eastern Karnataka, at its border with Tamil Nadu in South India. The area is called Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or simply BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a protected reserve under the Wildlife...

 and part of the Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

, extending southward to Cape Comorin and reappearing in Ceylon.

The variety called Green ubatuba is found in Brazil.


While the granulite facies metamorphism is dated as 2.5 Ga (billion years ago) in Nilgiris, Shevroys, Madras (Chennai) regions, the granulite facies event transforming the granitic gneisses into charnockite in the southern part of the South Indian granulite terrain is dated as 550 Ma (million years ago). Although they are certainly for the most part igneous gneisses (or orthogneisses), rocks occur along with them, such as marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

s, scapolite
Scapolite , is a group of rock-forming silicate minerals composed of aluminium, calcium, and sodium silicate with chlorine, carbonate and sulfate.-Properties:...

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

s, and corundum
Corundum is a crystalline form of aluminium oxide with traces of iron, titanium and chromium. It is a rock-forming mineral. It is one of the naturally clear transparent materials, but can have different colors when impurities are present. Transparent specimens are used as gems, called ruby if red...

 rocks, which were probably of sedimentary origin.
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