Q:

From what is limestone made?

A:

Quick Answer

Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is at least 50 percent calcium carbonate, and is found in nature in the form of the mineral calcite. Calcium carbonate has the molecular formula CaCO3. The formation of limestone can occur either through evaporation or the accumulation of shells from dead organisms like oysters in a marine environment.

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Sedimentary rock refers to the fact that it is made up of sediment layers that are compacted. Limestone can be white or light-colored in appearance, and has a variable grain size.

There are different limestone types, including oolite, chalk and travertine. The difference among these limestone types is the conditions under which they were formed. For example, travertine forms through evaporation in cave environments. The uses of limestone include the fabrication of lime and cement through a heating process.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Which elements make up limestone?

    A:

    Limestone is mostly made of calcite and dolomite; the former is composed or calcium, carbon and oxygen, while the latter is composed of calcium and magnesium. Depending on the type of limestone, other minerals and elements may be included.

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  • Q:

    How is limestone mined?

    A:

    Limestone is surface mined through open pit quarries or hillside cuts, or horizontally by tunneling under the overlaying surface rock. Quarrying is the most common method used, because it is an easier and cheaper method for removing shallow deposits. Underground operations are used when the overlaying surface rock is too thick.

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  • Q:

    Why is limestone important?

    A:

    According to the U.S. General Services Administration, limestone is important because it is widely used in architectural applications for walls, decorative trim and veneer. It is less commonly used in making sculptures because of its porosity and softness.

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  • Q:

    What type of sedimentary rock is permeable?

    A:

    Limestone and sandstone are usually permeable. The rule of thumb is that coarse-grained rock is more permeable than fine-grained rock. Rock also needs a fairly low level of cementation to be permeable.

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