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Episodes 2021; 44(1): 19-29

Published online March 1, 2021


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Charnockite: a candidate for ‘Global Heritage Stone Resource’ designation from India

C. Sreejith1*, E. A. Del Lama2, Gurmeet Kaur3

1 Department of Geology, MES Ponnani College, University of Calicut, Kerala–679586, India
2 Instituto de Geociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Lago, 562, CEP 05580-080 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3 CAS in Geology, Panjab University, Chandigarh–160014, India

Correspondence to:*E-mail: sreejithedapal@gmail.com

Revised: August 10, 2020; Accepted: August 10, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The first description of charnockite rock, now known to occur in all continents, became available to the world from India. Sir Thomas Holland named the tombstone of Job Charnock’s sepulchre at St. John’s Churchyard in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) as ‘charnockite’ in his honour. Later, the classic memoir on charnockite by Thomas Holland appeared, where he defined charnockite as a quartz-feldspar-hypersthene-iron ore-bearing rock. Charnockite incorporates members of orthopyroxene-bearing, high-grade felsic-granulites and granitoids. It essentially contains orthopyroxene as the characteristic ferro-magnesian mineral along with quartz and feldspar. Charnockite is an excellent example of a heritage stone as it was extensively used from time immemorial on the Indian subcontinent. The Mahabalipuram temple complex (UNESCO world heritage site), Sri Padmanabha temple, Vivekananda and Thiruvalluvar memorials, Job Charnock’s tombstone etc. are just a few examples of monuments made of charnockite spread out in various parts of India. In contemporary times, Indian charnockite has a huge market in countries like Japan, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, UK, USA, Africa, Australia and so forth. The protracted history of usage of charnockite in architectural heritage in India combined with its unique geological significance makes it an exemplary candidate for the Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR) recognition.