What is calcite made of?
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Q:

What is calcite made of?

A:

Quick Answer

Calcite is a mineral made of calcium carbonate. It is one of the most common minerals on Earth and comes in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Calcite and aragonite are polymorphous to each other; they contain the same chemical composition but differ in crystal structure.

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Full Answer

Calcite is usually found in sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. It is the main component of limestone, marble and the Earth's crust and is one of the most widely used minerals. The properties of calcite make it suitable for agricultural soil treatment, construction material and pharmaceutical applications. Crushed limestone and marble are also used to neutralize acids in areas where streams have large quantities of acid mine drainage.

According to the University of Minnesota, calcite occurs in both crystalline and massive forms. Crystals of calcite are usually transparent to translucent, whereas masses of calcite tend to be light colored. Both these forms of calcite can create a wide range of colors when exposed to small amounts of impurities, which gives them a unique appearance depending on their location in the world. In powdered form, calcite often has an extremely white color that is used as a white pigment or "whiting," according to Geology.com.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who discovered calcite?

    A:

    Calcite is a very common mineral, so it is hard to say that a particular person was the first to discover it. The popular colorless variety of calcite, called "Iceland Spar," was first formally described in the 1600s by a mining company working in the Helgustadir Mine in Eskifjord, Iceland.

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  • Q:

    What is dolostone?

    A:

    A dolostone or dolomite rock is a former limestone wherein the calcite is replaced by dolomite, according to About.com. Geology.com states that this is a type of sedimentary rock found in sedimentary basins all over the world.

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  • Q:

    How is sandstone formed?

    A:

    Sandstone forms over the course of centuries, as deposits of sand accumulate in rivers, lakes or on the ocean floor, and the sand blends with calcite or quarts and then undergoes compression. After enough time goes by, the pressure pushes all of these elements together to create sandstone. Because not all sand is identical but instead comes in a variety of colors and grain textures, each formation has a unique appearance.

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  • Q:

    What is honeycomb calcite?

    A:

    Honeycomb calcite, also called amber onyx, is a translucent, marble-like stone. It is mined exclusively in the state of Utah. Its name comes from the honeycomb appearance when viewing a polished surface.

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