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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Limestone (disambiguation).


Sedimentary rock

Limestone in Waitomo District, New Zealand


Calcium carbonate: inorganic crystalline calciteand/or organic

calcareous material

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calciteand aragonite, which
are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate(CaCO3). Most limestone is composed of skeletal
fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera.
Limestone makes up about 10% of the total volume of all sedimentary rocks. The solubility of
limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads tokarst landscapes, in which water erodes the
limestone over thousands to millions of years. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock.
Limestone has numerous uses: as a building material, as aggregate for the base of roads, as
white pigment or filler in products such as toothpasteor paints, and as a chemical feedstock.
The first geologist to distinguish limestone from dolomite was Belsazar Hacquet in 1778.[1]


 1 Description
 2 Classification
o 2.1 Folk classification
o 2.2 Dunham classification
 3 Limestone landscape
 4 Uses
 5 Degradation by organisms
 6 Gallery
 7 See also

Romania.Malta La Zaplaz formations in thePiatra Craiului Mountains. andextraclasts. Like most other sedimentary rocks. Most grains in limestone are skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera. These . Virginia. intraclasts. 8 References  9 Further reading Description[edit] Limestone quarry at Cedar Creek. peloids. USA Cutting the limestone blocks at a quarry in Gozo. most limestone is composed of grains. Other carbonate grains comprising limestones are ooids.

The primary source of the calcite in limestone is most commonlymarine organisms. and other materials) will cause limestones to exhibit different colors. Each name is based upon the texture of the grains that make up the limestone. water pressure and temperature conditions cause the dissolution of calcite to increase nonlinearly. Coquina is a poorly consolidated limestone composed of pieces of coral orshells. a porous or cellular variety of travertine. and varying amounts ofclay.e. Impurities (such as clay. granular. i. Dunham published his system for limestone in . particularly where there are waterfalls and around hot or cold springs.) or siliceous skeletal fragment (sponge spicules.000 meters. there are three main components: allochems (grains). the first refers to the grains and the second is the root. depending on several factors. Folk developed a classification system that places primary emphasis on the detailed composition of grains and interstitial material in carbonate rocks. calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together. Folk classification[edit] Main article: Folk classification Robert L. such as stalagmites andstalactites. matrix (mostly micrite). Another form taken by calcite is oolitic limestone. depending on the method of formation. Travertine is a banded. or it can fill fractures. Based on composition. and cement (sparite). Below about 3. Tufa. is found near waterfalls. in which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases. It is helpful to have a petrographic microscope when using the Folk scheme. Some limestones do not consist of grains at all. When conditions are right for precipitation. building upon past generations.[2][3] Calcite can be dissolved or precipitated by groundwater. The Folk system uses two-part names. the Folk and the Dunham. and leave these shells behind after the organisms die. limestone recrystallizes intomarble. etc. or massive. iron oxide. flint. so limestone typically does not form in deeper waters (see lysocline). clastic. Limestone is a parent material of Mollisol soil group. Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the water leaves a solution supersaturated with the chemical constituents of calcite.travertine. and are formed completely by the chemical precipitation of calcite or aragonite. Secondary calcite may be deposited by supersaturatedmeteoric waters (groundwater that precipitates the material in caves). radiolarians). which can be recognized by its granular (oolite) appearance. Robert J. sand. compact variety of limestone formed along streams. and dissolved ion concentrations. are used for identifying limestone and carbonate rocks. organic remains. jasper. Limestone may be crystalline. Classification[edit] Two major classification schemes. During regional metamorphism that occurs during the mountain building process (orogeny). especially with weathered surfaces. pH.organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite. including the water temperature. quartz. Some of these organisms can construct mounds of rock known as reefs. Limestones may also form in lacustrine and evaporite depositional environments. This produces speleothems.[4] Dunham classification[edit] Main article: Dunham classification The Dunham scheme focuses on depositional textures. Crystals of calcite. Calcite exhibits an unusual characteristic called retrograde solubility. silt and sand (terrestrial detritus) carried in by rivers. dolomite or barite may line small cavities in the rock. because it is easier to determine the components present in each sample. Limestone often contains variable amounts of silica in the form ofchert (chalcedony. diatoms.

the Niagara Escarpment in Canada/United States. and it is known throughout the fossil record (see Taylor and Wilson. are composed mainly of oolitic limestone (the Lower Keys) and the carbonate skeletons of coral reefs (the Upper Keys). Dunham divides the rocks into four main groups based on relative proportions of coarser clastic particles. and therefore forms many erosional landforms. Clare. Coastal limestones are often eroded by organisms which bore into the rock by various means. and occurs in regions with other sedimentary rocks.[8]England. Such erosion landscapes are known as karsts. Examples include the Burren in Co. These include limestone pavements.[5] Limestone landscape[edit] Main article: Karst topography The Cudgel of Hercules. His efforts deal with the question of whether or not the grains were originally in mutual contact. The largest such expanse in Europe is the Stora Alvaret on the island of Öland. Karst topography and caves develop in limestone rocks due to their solubility in diluteacidic groundwater. which thrived in the area during interglacial periods when sea level was higher than at present. on Fårö near the Swedish island of Gotland. Dunham names are essentially for rock families. but more resistant than most other sedimentary rocks. Limestone is less resistant than mostigneous rocks.1962. as surface water easily drains downward through joints in the limestone. pot holes. caves and gorges. cenotes. water and organic acid from the soil slowly (over thousands or millions of years) enlarges these cracks. Unique habitats are found on alvars. Another . Malham Cove in North Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight.[6][7] Limestone is partially soluble. This process is known asbioerosion. Notch Peak in Utah. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads tokarst landscapes. Unlike the Folk scheme. a tall limestone rock (Pieskowa Skała Castle in the background) Limestone makes up about 10% of the total volume of all sedimentary rocks. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock. islands off the south coast of Florida. extremely level expanses of limestone with thin soil mantles. dissolving the calcium carbonate and carrying it away in solution. Dunham deals with the original porosity of the rock. Bands of limestone emerge from the Earth's surface in often spectacular rocky outcrops and islands. While draining. the Verdon Gorge in France. not the grains in the sample. Ireland. typically clays. Regions overlying limestone bedrock tend to have fewer visible above- ground sources (ponds and streams). 2003). especially in acid. The Dunham scheme is more useful for hand samples because it is based on texture. it focuses on the depositional fabric of carbonate rocks. It is therefore usually associated with hills and downland. and therefore self-supporting. The Florida Keys. or whether the rock is characterized by the presence of frame builders and algal mats. It is most common in the tropics. Cooling groundwater or mixing of different groundwaters will also create conditions suitable for cave formation. the Ha Long Bay National Park in Vietnam and the hills around the Lijiang River and Guilin city in China. Sweden.

However. Limestone is very common in architecture. including the Great Pyramid and its associated complex in Giza. are made of limestone. one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World has an outside cover made entirely from limestone. The world's largest limestone quarry is at Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company in Rogers City. So many buildings inKingston. Ontario. and is still very frequently used on all types of buildings and sculptures. for a long time. a variety of limestone called Globigerina limestone was.area with large quantities of limestone is the island of Gotland. it is a very heavy material.[10] On the island of Malta. such as those of Mount Saint Peter (Belgium/Netherlands). especially in Europe and North America. Many landmarks across the world. They are among the oldest free-standing structures in existence. Egypt. Sweden. Huge quarries in northwestern Europe. It is also long-lasting and stands up well to exposure. and relatively expensive as a building material. extend for more than a hundred kilometers. . the only building material available. The Great Pyramid of Giza.[9] Uses[edit] The Megalithic Temples of Maltasuch as Ħaġar Qim are built entirely of limestone. making it impractical for tall buildings. Michigan. Canada were constructed from it that it is nicknamed the 'Limestone City'. Limestone is readily available and relatively easy to cut into blocks or more elaborate carving.

called Indiana limestone. most notably the Bloomington area. . but only in thin plates for covering. makingacid rain a significant problem to the preservation of artifacts made from this stone. which should only be cleaned with a neutral or mild alkaline- based cleaner. Limestone was most popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. and commonly occurs in easily accessible surface exposures. Beer stone was a popular kind of limestone for medieval buildings in southern England. It is used as a facade on some skyscrapers. In the United States. Train stations. Indiana.  It is crushed for use as aggregate—the solid base for many roads as well as in asphalt concrete. has long been a source of high quality quarried limestone. Kansas. since it is hard. Limestone was also a very popular building block in the Middle Ages in the areas where it occurred. Many famous buildings in London are built from Portland limestone. banks and other structures from that era are normally made of limestone. Limestone and (to a lesser extent) marble are reactive to acid solutions.  Pulverized limestone is used as a soil conditioner to neutralize acidic soils. cement and mortar. Many medieval churches and castles in Europe are made of limestone. Other uses include:  It is the raw material for the manufacture of quicklime (calcium oxide). Many limestone statues and building surfaces have suffered severe damage due to acid rain. durable. Acid-based cleaning chemicals can also etch limestone.Courthouse built of limestone inManhattan. slaked lime (calcium hydroxide). rather than solid blocks. USA A limestone plate with a negative map of Moosburg in Bavaria is prepared for a lithography print.

 As a reagent in flue-gas desulfurization.  . it reacts with sulfur dioxide for air pollution control. U.[13] Gallery[edit]  A stratigraphic section ofOrdovician limestone exposed in centralTennessee.  It is used in sculptures because of its suitability for carving. Geological formations of limestone are among the best petroleum reservoirs. it is added to bread and cereals as a source of calcium. tiles.  It can suppress methane explosions in underground coal mines. paint. Degradation by organisms[edit] The cyanobacterium Hyella balani can bore through limestone.  Thin-section view of a Middle Jurassiclimestone in southernUtah.[12]  Used in blast furnaces. plastics. The vertical lines are drill holes for explosives used during road construction.2 mm in diameter.S.  Glass making. such as for poultry (when ground up).  It is added to toothpaste. U.S. uses limestone.  Calcium levels in livestock feed are supplemented with it. as can the green algae Eugamantia sacculata and thefungus Ostracolaba implexa.  It is often found in medicines and cosmetics. in some circumstances. The less-resistant and thinner beds are composed ofshale. This limestone is an oosparite. paper.  Purified. and other materials as both white pigment and a cheap filler.[11]  It can be used for remineralizing and increasing the alkalinity of purified water to prevent pipe corrosion and to restore essential nutrient levels. limestone binds with silica and other impurities to remove them from the iron. The round grains are ooids. the largest is 1.

Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) 35 (2). U. R. Michmarkers. Jump up^ "Isle of Wight. ISSN 0583-6050. Andrej (2006). H. (1974). Retrieved 2008-02-13. Classification of carbonate rocks..slb.3. Petroleum Geologists W. 12.Dalian. Jump up^ "A Guide to Giving Your Layer Hens Enough Calcium". 108–121. Acta Carsologica(Institute for the Karst Research. Retrieved 2008-02-13. Jump up^ "Nutrient minerals in drinking-water and the potential health consequences of consumption of demineralized and remineralized and altered mineral content drinking-water: Consensus of the meeting".0535. 7. "Lake-level changes. Petrology of Sedimentary Rocks. mine-engineer. Jump up^ Dunham.156. the Pionneer of Karst Geomorphologists". Ohio. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Am. 3. Minerals" (PDF). Jump up^ Michigan Markers.1144/gsjgs. Photo and etched section of a sample of fossiliferous limestone from the Kope Formation(Upper Ordovician) nearCincinnati. .com. Jump up^ Kranjc. 8. 1.. 2.  A concretionary nodular(septarium) limestone at Jinshitan Coastal National Geopark. sedimentation and faunas in a Middle Devonian basin-margin fish bed". Davidson.S.  Biosparite limestone of the Brassfield Formation(Lower Silurian) nearFairborn. 10. Jump up^ "Calcite".  Alvar  Calcium carbonate  Chalk  Coral sand  Dolomite  Kurkar  In Praise of Limestone  List of types of limestone by location  Sandstone References[edit] 1. Retrieved on 2011-11-25. R. Retrieved 2006-10-08. Journal of the Geological Society 156 (3): 535– 548. Jump up^ Limestone (mineral). Jump up^ Folk. 6. (1962). Jump up^ Oilfield Glossary: Term 'evaporite'. In Ham. Ohio. Assoc. "Balthasar Hacquet (1739/40-1815). PoultyOne. L. Texas: Hemphill. N. Retrieved on 2011-11-25. Glossary. World Health Organization report. Jump up^ "Welcome to the Limestone City". 11. J. U. 9. See also[edit] Wikimedia Commons has media related to Limestones. 5. showing grains mainly composed of Scientific Research Centre. (1999). Jump up^ Trewin. R. Retrieved 2008-02-13. doi:10. E. G. 4.oilfield. "Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional textures". pp. China. Austin.

[1]  Folk RL.. Jump up^ Henry Lutz Ehrlich.D. R. 108–121  Robert S.A. in Ham W. (1974) Petrology of Sedimentary Rocks. P. pp. (ed. Hemphill Publishing. 13. M. 1.p. Palaeoecology and evolution of marine hard substrate communities. Austin. Boynton-Chemistry and technology of lime and limestone.E. and Wilson.Wiley (1980) – 578 pages – ISBN 0471027715 . 1962. Further reading[edit]  Taylor. Dianne K Newman (2009). Earth-Science Reviews 62: 1–103. Texas  Dunham. 2003. Petroleum Geologists Mem. Assoc. Fifth Edition. Geomicrobiology.). 181– 2..J. Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional textures. Classification of carbonate rocks: Am.