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What Is Limestone?

What is limestone?

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What is Limestone? Lime is a term generally used in the description of limestone, hydrated line or quicklime. Limestone is a type of sedimentary rock that is primarily made up of calcium carbonate, (CaCO3) in the form of calcite mineral. It is commonly found in clear, warm or shallow marine waters. It can be formed from shell, algal and fecal debris accumulation. This type is called organic sedimentary rock. Chemical sedimentary rock is formed when there is a precipitation of calcite from the ocean or lake water.

 

Chemically, limestone can be said to be a rock, that has 50% CaCO3 by the proportion, which is in the form of the calcite mineral. The different types of limestone all contain some percentage of other materials which can be little particles of feldspar, clay minerals, quartz, siderite and many more materials. These other particles can be in the form of nodules of pyrite or chert. The effervescence property of this rock, when it comes in contact with 5% hydrochloric acid solution, makes it very useful in the identification process.

Limestone is called several other names which are dependent on the formation, appearance or composition of the rock. Other factors might still determine what a rock is called.

Chalk is a fine and soft textured type of this rock, which usually comes in a variety of white or grey colours. The remains of shell of microscopic organisms majorly form this limestone. This microorganism can be marine algae or foraminifers.

Coquina is another type of limestone that is not well cemented. It is basically made from broken shell debris. Limestone is mostly found around beaches where it separates the shell fragments in different and similar sizes.

Another type that contains a large percentage of fossils is Fossiliferious Limestone, which in most instances, contains the fossils of various shells and skeletal organisms.

A highly dense type composed of very fine and uniform tiny sizes occurring in thin beds, which can easily separate to form a smooth surface is called lithographic limestone. Lithography, an old printing process, is the application of this process. There are also Oolitic, travertine, and tufa types of limestone.

Limestone has an enormous variety of uses. You can say is one rock that is in more use than the others. Most of this stone type can be crushed for use in construction. When crushed, it is also useful for road base railroad ballast. In concrete, it plays a vital role in aggregation. Cement is made when this rock is heated in a kiln with crushed shale.

The above points are very useful when determining what is limestone used for. Some limestone types are good when used in any of the above-mentioned applications because they are strong and dense with little pore spaces, which enable them to withstand abrasion and freeze-thaw.

 

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