Granite, in Natural History, a genus of stones, consisting chiefly of quartz, feldspath, and mica; forming rough and very large masses of great hardness, yielding fire with steel, not fermenting with acids, and slowly but imperfectly calcinable in a great heat. - The most stupendous ridges or chains of mountains on our globe, are composed of this fossil, which presents three distinct species.
1.. The hard white granite, with black spots, commonly called moor-stone. It is much used in London, for the steps of public buildings, and on other occasions where great strength and solidity are required.
2. The hard red granite, variegated with black and while, which is common in Egypt and Arabia.
3. The pale whitish granite, diversified with black and yellow. This is sometimes found in strata, but more frequently in loose nodules, and is employed for the paving of streets.
Granites take a good polish; hence the Egyptians formerly employed them, and the Italians still use them for working large pieces of ornamental architecture ; a purpose to which this fossil is uncommonly well adapted, as it is not liable to decay in the air. Indeed, there are columns, statues, and other monuments of antiquity erected of granite, and preserved to this day entire, though some of these relics have withstood the test of time for upwards of 4000 years !