This week's subject for the Friday My Town Shoot-out is Rocks large and small - chosen by ChefE.
Most of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland have a bedrock formed from Lewisian gneiss. These are the oldest rocks in Europe and amongst the oldest in the world, having been laid down in the Precambrian period, up to 3000 million years ago.
Gneiss (pronounced nice) is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.
The etymology of the word "gneiss" is disputed. Some sources say it comes from the Middle High German verb gneist (to spark; so called because the rock glitters) and the name has occurred in English at least since 1757. Other sources claim the root to be an old Saxon mining term that seems to have meant decayed, rotten, or possibly worthless material.
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