close-up of giant piece of gneiss

Picture of the Gneiss Monolith at the University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum. Can you see the banding of the white quartz, the pink feldspar and the black biotite and hornblende?

Gneiss is pronounced the same way as “nice.” It is a metamorphic rock which formed by heating granite. It is easily recognized by its banding pattern. At the museum we have an 8.5 metre tall piece of gneiss. It’s so big that we built the museum around it! We also have lots of interesting pieces of gneiss in the rock garden. Gneiss one of the most easily recognized metamorphic rocks. It is formed when granite is heated enough to allow the minerals in it to become banded, but it is not heated enough to fully melt the rock.

Used in:

  • Countertops
  • Building stones
  • Paving Stones
  • Ornamental stone

slab of pink gneiss in outdoor rock garden setting

Gneiss, Peter Russell Rock Garden

Museum hours

Conestoga Rovers Learning Centre (the “Dino pit”) open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

The museum’s main atrium, mining tunnel, Great Lakes fountain and stunning mineral exhibits open all day Monday to Friday and weekends from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Peter Russell Rock Garden (located outdoors) open to the public year round. Self-guided tours are available.

Admission is free! For more information, see Visit Us.

Scavenger hunts for kids ages 6 to 12+