country rock

Among geologists, mountain climbers, and other aficionados of the continental crust, granite and its closest igneous cousins tend to be held in higher esteem than most other varieties of rock. This bias is evident in the term country rock, which is used to describe the motley body of nonigneous rock that surrounds an igneous intrusion. Simply put, country rock is everything in the Earth’s geological mix that isn’t granite. In the Brooks Range of arctic Alaska, for example, there are a few isolated batholiths that culminate in arresting clusters of granitic summits (most notably the jagged spires of Mount Igikpak and the Arrigetch Peaks), surrounded by lovely but considerably less dramatic scarps of limestone, shale, and conglomerate, which march toward the horizon in a seemingly endless procession. This latter vastness of highly complex, nonigneous geology is summarily dismissed as country rock.

Jon Krakauer