Chert ('tʃɜrt) is a hard, fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline quartz, the mineral form of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Chert is characteristically of biological origin, but may also occur inorganically as a chemical precipitate or a diagenetic replacement, as in petrified wood.
Chert is typically composed of the petrified remains of siliceous ooze, the biogenic sediment that covers large areas of the deep ocean floor, and which contains the silicon skeletal remains of diatoms, silicoflagellates, and radiolarians. Precambrian cherts are notable for the presence of fossil cyanobacteria. In addition to microfossils, chert occasionally contains macrofossils. However, some chert is devoid of any fossils.
Chert varies greatly in color, from white to black, but is most often found as gray, brown, grayish brown and light green to rusty red and occasionally as dark green. Its color is an expression of trace elements presen