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[hawrn-felz] /ˈhɔrn fɛlz/
a dark, fine-grained metamorphic rock, the result of recrystallization of siliceous or argillaceous sediments by contact metamorphism.
Origin of hornfels
1850-55; < German, equivalent to Horn horn + Fels rock, cliff Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hornfels
  • Even if this process could occur, entry of such pollen and spores into the nonporous hornfels lacks an explanation.
  • Red mudstone is typically altered to indurated, bluish-gray hornfels with clots or crystals of tourmaline or cordierite.
  • Geologists call such rocks hornfels that is, horn rock.
  • Contact metamorphism around intrusions produced epidote hornfels and locally, amphibole hornfels.
  • Where metamorphosed, unit consists of dark-brown hornfels.
  • The soils formed from basalt, diabase and hornfels bedrocks.
  • Large intrusive bodies have altered host carbonate and shale units to hornfels.
British Dictionary definitions for hornfels


a hard compact fine-grained metamorphic rock formed by the action of heat from a magmatic intrusion on neighbouring sedimentary rocks Also called hornstone
Word Origin
German: literally, horn rock
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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hornfels in Science
A fine-grained metamorphic rock having a uniform grain size and formed by contact metamorphism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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