Schist is a medium to coarse-grained metamorphic rock characterized by its pronounced foliation and the presence of abundant, platy or elongated minerals. It belongs to the metamorphic rock class and is part of the foliated subclass. The texture of schist is formed by the parallel alignment of its constituent minerals, which gives it a distinctive shimmering appearance and allows it to be easily split along its foliation planes.

Mineral Makeup

The mineral composition of schist can vary greatly, depending on the parent rock and the metamorphic conditions. However, it is typically dominated by platy or elongated minerals such as micas (muscovite and biotite), chlorite, and talc, along with quartz and feldspar. The presence of other accessory minerals, such as garnet, staurolite, or kyanite, can further define specific types of schist.


Schist forms through the metamorphism of various parent rocks, such as shale, phyllite, or other sedimentary and igneous rocks, under intermediate to high-grade metamorphic conditions. The process of metamorphism causes the growth and reorientation of the constituent minerals, resulting in the development of the distinctive foliated texture that defines schist.


Schist can be found worldwide in regions that have experienced significant metamorphism, typically associated with mountain building events. Some notable occurrences of schist include the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States, the Scottish Highlands, the Alps in Europe, and the Himalayas in Asia. Schist is often found in association with other metamorphic rocks, such as gneiss and marble.


Schist is believed to possess metaphysical properties related to transformation, self-discovery, and spiritual growth. As a metamorphic rock, it symbolizes the ability to adapt and change, encouraging personal development and the shedding of old habits or beliefs. Schist is also thought to enhance intuition and spiritual awareness, helping individuals connect with their inner wisdom and higher purpose.

ClassMetamorphic (Foliated) 
Mineral MakeupVariable, typically dominated by micas, chlorite, talc, quartz, and feldspar 
LusterSilky, pearly, or vitreous
Hardness (Mohs)3-4
StreakWhite or colorless
ColorVaries, often gray, silver, green, or brown
CleavagePerfect, splitting along foliation planes 
Specific Gravity2.7 to 3.3