Arkose is a feldspar-rich (25%) sandstone. Arkose is usually coarse-grained and composed of angular grains.
These properties are characteristic of relatively immature sediments. Arkose is usually a disintegration product of nearby granitic rocks.
Quartz is commonly the dominant mineral component, and some mica is often present. Apart from the mineral content, rock fragments may also be a significant component. Arkose usually contains small amounts of calcite cement, which causes it to fizz slightly in dilute hydrochloric acid; sometimes the cement also contains iron oxide.
Arkose is typically grey to reddish in colour. The sand grains making up an arkose may range from fine to very coarse, but tend toward the coarser end of the scale. Fossils are rare in arkose, due to the depositional processes that form it, although bedding is frequently visible.
Arkose is generally formed from the weathering of feldspar-rich igneous or metamorphic, most commonly granitic, rocks, which are primarily composed of quartz and feldspar (called ‘grus’ as a sand). These sediments must be deposited rapidly and/or in a cold or arid environment such that the feldspar does not undergo significant chemical weathering and decomposition; therefore arkose is designated a texturally immature sedimentary rock. Arkose is often associated with conglomerate deposits sourced from granitic terrain and is often found above unconformities in the immediate vicinity of granite terrains.
The central Australian inselberg Uluru (Ayers Rock) is composed of late Neoproterozoic/Cambrian arkose, deposited in the Amadeus Basin.