Throughout much of the Piedmont Plateau and Mountain regions the decomposition of felspar and of other aluminous minerals has resulted in a deep soil of clay with which more or less sand is mixed.
The difference between schists and gneisses is mainly that the latter have less highly developed foliation; they also, as a rule, are more coarse grained, and contain far more quartz and felspar, two minerals which rarely assume platy or acicular forms, and hence do not lead to the production of a fissile character in the rocks in which they are important constituents.
In the mica-schists of this group biotite or muscovite may be the principal mineral and often both are present in varying proportions; the mica has developed from the argillaceous matter of the original rock; in addition there is always quartz and sometimes felspar (albite or oligoclase).
Often they contain quartz and felspar, sometimes pyroxene, amphibole, garnet or epidote.
Some of the "porphyroids" which have grains of quartz and felspar in a finely schistose micaceous matrix are intermediate between porphyries and micaschists of this group. Still more numerous are orthoschists of hornblendic character (hornblende-schists) consisting of green hornblende with often felspar, quartz and sphene (also rutile, garnet, epidote or zoisite, biotite and iron oxides).