Sandstone

Sandstone, coarse-grained, sedimentary rock consisting of consolidated masses of sand deposited by moving water or by wind. The chemical constitution of sandstone is the same as that of sand; the rock is thus composed essentially of quartz. The cementing material that binds together the grains of sand is usually composed of silica, calcium carbonate, or iron oxide. The color of the rock is often determined largely by the cementing material, iron oxides causing a Red or reddish-brown sandstone, and the other materials producing white, yellowish, or grayish sandstone. When sandstone breaks, the cement is fractured and the individual grains remain whole, thus giving the surfaces a granular appearance. Sandstones of various geologic ages and of commercial importance are widely distributed in the U.S. Besides serving as a natural reservoir for deposits of oil and gas, sandstone is used in building flagstone paving and in the manufacture of whetstones and grindstones.