A clastic sedimentary rock comprising an aggregate of sand-sized (0.06–2.0-mm) fragments of minerals, rocks, or fossils held together by a mineral cement. Sandstone forms when sand is buried under successive layers of sediment. During burial the sand is compacted, and a binding agent such as quartz, calcite, or iron oxide is precipitated from ground water which moves through passageways between grains. Sandstones grade upward in grain size into conglomerates and breccias; they grade downward in size into siltstones and shales. When the proportion of fossil fragments or carbonate grains is greater than 50%, sandstones grade into clastic limestones. The basic components of a sandstone are framework grains (sand particles), which supply the rock's strength; matrix or mud-sized particles, which fill some of the space between grains; and crystalline cement. The composition of the framework grains reveals much about the history of the derivation of the sand grains, including the parent rock type and weathering history of the parent rock. Textural attributes of sandstone are the same as those for sand, and they have the same genetic significance.
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