Limestone is a sedimentary rock which is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst 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, an essential component of concrete (Portland cement), as aggregate for the base of roads, as white pigment or filler in products such as toothpaste or paints, as a chemical feedstock for the production of lime, as a soil conditioner, or as a popular decorative addition to rock gardens.

Sedimentary rock
Limestone outcrop in the Torcal de Antequera nature reserve of Málaga, Spain
Calcium carbonate: inorganic crystalline calcite or organic calcareous material


Limestone Mines at Cedar Creek
Limestone quarry at Cedar Creek, Virginia, USA
Gozo, limestone quarry - cutting the stone
Cutting limestone blocks at a quarry in Gozo, Malta
Kalkstein (nahe)
Limestone as building material
La Zaplaz, Piatra Craiului
La Zaplaz formations in the Piatra Craiului Mountains, Romania.

Like most other sedimentary rocks, most limestone is composed of grains. Most grains in limestone are skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera. These organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite, and leave these shells behind when they die. Other carbonate grains composing limestones are ooids, peloids, intraclasts, and extraclasts.

Limestone often contains variable amounts of silica in the form of chert (chalcedony, flint, jasper, etc.) or siliceous skeletal fragment (sponge spicules, diatoms, radiolarians), and varying amounts of clay, silt and sand (terrestrial detritus) carried in by rivers.

Some limestones do not consist of grains, and are formed by the chemical precipitation of calcite or aragonite, i.e. travertine. Secondary calcite may be deposited by supersaturated meteoric waters (groundwater that precipitates the material in caves). This produces speleothems, such as stalagmites and stalactites. Another form taken by calcite is oolitic limestone, which can be recognized by its granular (oolite) appearance.

The primary source of the calcite in limestone is most commonly marine organisms. Some of these organisms can construct mounds of rock known as reefs, building upon past generations. Below about 3,000 meters, water pressure and temperature conditions cause the dissolution of calcite to increase nonlinearly, so limestone typically does not form in deeper waters (see lysocline). Limestones may also form in lacustrine[1] and evaporite depositional environments.[2][3]

Calcite can be dissolved or precipitated by groundwater, depending on several factors, including the water temperature, pH, and dissolved ion concentrations. Calcite exhibits an unusual characteristic called retrograde solubility, in which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases.

Impurities (such as clay, sand, organic remains, iron oxide, and other materials) will cause limestones to exhibit different colors, especially with weathered surfaces.

Limestone may be crystalline, clastic, granular, or massive, depending on the method of formation. Crystals of calcite, quartz, dolomite or barite may line small cavities in the rock. When conditions are right for precipitation, calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together, or it can fill fractures.

Travertine is a banded, compact variety of limestone formed along streams, particularly where there are waterfalls and around hot or cold springs. Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the water leaves a solution supersaturated with the chemical constituents of calcite. Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine, is found near waterfalls. Coquina is a poorly consolidated limestone composed of pieces of coral or shells.

During regional metamorphism that occurs during the mountain building process (orogeny), limestone recrystallizes into marble.

Limestone is a parent material of Mollisol soil group.


Two major classification schemes, the Folk and the Dunham, are used for identifying limestone and carbonate rocks.

Folk classification

Robert L. Folk developed a classification system that places primary emphasis on the detailed composition of grains and interstitial material in carbonate rocks. Based on composition, there are three main components: allochems (grains), matrix (mostly micrite), and cement (sparite). The Folk system uses two-part names; the first refers to the grains and the second is the root. It is helpful to have a petrographic microscope when using the Folk scheme, because it is easier to determine the components present in each sample.[4]

Dunham classification

The Dunham scheme focuses on depositional textures. Each name is based upon the texture of the grains that make up the limestone. Robert J. Dunham published his system for limestone in 1962; it focuses on the depositional fabric of carbonate rocks. Dunham divides the rocks into four main groups based on relative proportions of coarser clastic particles. Dunham names are essentially for rock families. His efforts deal with the question of whether or not the grains were originally in mutual contact, and therefore self-supporting, or whether the rock is characterized by the presence of frame builders and algal mats. Unlike the Folk scheme, Dunham deals with the original porosity of the rock. The Dunham scheme is more useful for hand samples because it is based on texture, not the grains in the sample.[5]

Limestone landscape

Maczuga Herkulesa (background Castle Pieskowa Skała)
The Cudgel of Hercules, a tall limestone rock (Pieskowa Skała Castle in the background)

About 10% of all sedimentary rocks are limestones.[6][7]

Limestone is partially soluble, especially in acid, and therefore forms many erosional landforms. These include limestone pavements, pot holes, cenotes, caves and gorges. Such erosion landscapes are known as karsts. Limestone is less resistant than most igneous rocks, but more resistant than most other sedimentary rocks. It is therefore usually associated with hills and downland, and occurs in regions with other sedimentary rocks, typically clays.

Karst topography and caves develop in limestone rocks due to their solubility in dilute acidic groundwater. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes. Regions overlying limestone bedrock tend to have fewer visible above-ground sources (ponds and streams), as surface water easily drains downward through joints in the limestone. While draining, water and organic acid from the soil slowly (over thousands or millions of years) enlarges these cracks, dissolving the calcium carbonate and carrying it away in solution. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock. Cooling groundwater or mixing of different groundwaters will also create conditions suitable for cave formation.

Coastal limestones are often eroded by organisms which bore into the rock by various means. This process is known as bioerosion. It is most common in the tropics, and it is known throughout the fossil record (see Taylor and Wilson, 2003).

Bands of limestone emerge from the Earth's surface in often spectacular rocky outcrops and islands. Examples include the Rock of Gibraltar, the Burren in County Clare, Ireland; the Verdon Gorge in France; Malham Cove in North Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight,[8] England; the Great Orme in Wales; on Fårö near the Swedish island of Gotland, the Niagara Escarpment in Canada/United States, Notch Peak in Utah, the Ha Long Bay National Park in Vietnam and the hills around the Lijiang River and Guilin city in China.

The Florida Keys, islands off the south coast of Florida, are composed mainly of oolitic limestone (the Lower Keys) and the carbonate skeletons of coral reefs (the Upper Keys), which thrived in the area during interglacial periods when sea level was higher than at present.

Unique habitats are found on alvars, extremely level expanses of limestone with thin soil mantles. The largest such expanse in Europe is the Stora Alvaret on the island of Öland, Sweden. Another area with large quantities of limestone is the island of Gotland, Sweden. Huge quarries in northwestern Europe, such as those of Mount Saint Peter (Belgium/Netherlands), extend for more than a hundred kilometers.

The world's largest limestone quarry is at Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company in Rogers City, Michigan.[9]


Facade Hagar Qim
The Megalithic Temples of Malta such as Ħaġar Qim are built entirely of limestone. They are among the oldest freestanding structures in existence.[10]

Limestone is very common in architecture, especially in Europe and North America. Many landmarks across the world, including the Great Pyramid and its associated complex in Giza, Egypt, were made of limestone. So many buildings in Kingston, Ontario, Canada were, and continue to be, constructed from it that it is nicknamed the 'Limestone City'.[11] On the island of Malta, a variety of limestone called Globigerina limestone was, for a long time, the only building material available, and is still very frequently used on all types of buildings and sculptures. Limestone is readily available and relatively easy to cut into blocks or more elaborate carving.[10] Ancient American sculptors valued limestone because it was easy to work and good for fine detail. Going back to the Late Preclassic period (by 200–100 BCE), the Maya civilization (Ancient Mexico) created refined sculpture using limestone because of these excellent carving properties. The Maya would decorate the ceilings of their sacred buildings (known as lintels) and cover the walls with carved limestone panels. Carved on these sculptures were political and social stories, and this helped communicate messages of the king to his people.[12] Limestone is long-lasting and stands up well to exposure, which explains why many limestone ruins survive. However, it is very heavy, making it impractical for tall buildings, and relatively expensive as a building material.

Gizeh Cheops BW 1
The Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World had an outside cover made entirely from limestone.
Riley (Kansas) County Courthouse 1
Riley County Courthouse built of limestone in Manhattan, Kansas, USA
Litography press with map of Moosburg 01
A limestone plate with a negative map of Moosburg in Bavaria is prepared for a lithography print.

Limestone was most popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Train stations, banks and other structures from that era are normally made of limestone. It is used as a facade on some skyscrapers, but only in thin plates for covering, rather than solid blocks. In the United States, Indiana, most notably the Bloomington area, has long been a source of high quality quarried limestone, called Indiana limestone. Many famous buildings in London are built from Portland limestone.

Limestone was also a very popular building block in the Middle Ages in the areas where it occurred, since it is hard, durable, and commonly occurs in easily accessible surface exposures. Many medieval churches and castles in Europe are made of limestone. Beer stone was a popular kind of limestone for medieval buildings in southern England.

Limestone and (to a lesser extent) marble are reactive to acid solutions, making acid rain a significant problem to the preservation of artifacts made from this stone. Many limestone statues and building surfaces have suffered severe damage due to acid rain. Likewise limestone gravel has been used to protect lakes vulnerable to acid rain, acting as a pH buffering agent. Acid-based cleaning chemicals can also etch limestone, which should only be cleaned with a neutral or mild alkali-based cleaner.

Other uses include:

  • It is the raw material for the manufacture of quicklime (calcium oxide), slaked lime (calcium hydroxide), cement and mortar.
  • Pulverized limestone is used as a soil conditioner to neutralize acidic soils (agricultural lime).
  • Is crushed for use as aggregate—the solid base for many roads as well as in asphalt concrete.
  • Geological formations of limestone are among the best petroleum reservoirs;
  • As a reagent in flue-gas desulfurization, it reacts with sulfur dioxide for air pollution control.
  • Glass making, in some circumstances, uses limestone.[13]
  • It is added to toothpaste, paper, plastics, paint, tiles, and other materials as both white pigment and a cheap filler.
  • It can suppress methane explosions in underground coal mines.
  • Purified, it is added to bread and cereals as a source of calcium.
  • Calcium levels in livestock feed are supplemented with it, such as for poultry (when ground up).[14]
  • It can be used for remineralizing and increasing the alkalinity of purified water to prevent pipe corrosion and to restore essential nutrient levels.[15]
  • Used in blast furnaces, limestone binds with silica and other impurities to remove them from the iron.
  • It is used in sculptures because of its suitability for carving.

Occupational safety and health

People can be exposed to limestone in the workplace by inhalation of and eye contact with the dust.

United States

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set the legal limit (permissible exposure limit) for limestone exposure in the workplace as 15 mg/m3 total exposure and 5 mg/m3 respiratory exposure over an 8-hour workday. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set a recommended exposure limit (REL) of 10 mg/m3 total exposure and 5 mg/m3 respiratory exposure over an 8-hour workday.[16]


Removing graffiti from weathered limestone is difficult because it is a porous and permeable material. The surface is fragile so usual abrasion methods run the risk of "severe surface loss". Because it is an acid-sensitive stone some cleaning agents can not be used due to adverse effects.[17]

Degradation by organisms

The cyanobacterium Hyella balani can bore through limestone; as can the green alga Eugamantia sacculata and the fungus Ostracolaba implexa.[18]



A stratigraphic section of Ordovician limestone exposed in central Tennessee, U.S. The less-resistant and thinner beds are composed of shale. The vertical lines are drill holes for explosives used during road construction.


Thin-section view of a Middle Jurassic limestone in southern Utah, U.S. The round grains are ooids; the largest is 1.2 mm (0.05 in) in diameter. This limestone is an oosparite.

Limestone etched section KopeFm new

Photo and etched section of a sample of fossiliferous limestone from the Kope Formation (Upper Ordovician) near Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.


Biosparite limestone of the Brassfield Formation (Lower Silurian) near Fairborn, Ohio, U.S., showing grains mainly composed of crinoid fragments.


A concretionary nodular (septarian) limestone at Jinshitan Coastal National Geopark, Dalian, China.

太湖賞石-Rock in the form of a fantastic mountain MET DT208239

Limestone from Lake Tai, used in gongshi, a Chinese stone art

See also


  1. ^ Roeser, Patricia; Franz, Sven O.; Litt, Thomas (1 December 2016). "Aragonite and calcite preservation in sediments from Lake Iznik related to bottom lake oxygenation and water column depth". Sedimentology. 63 (7): 2253–2277. doi:10.1111/sed.12306. ISSN 1365-3091.
  2. ^ Trewin, N. H.; Davidson, R. G. (1999). "Lake-level changes, sedimentation and faunas in a Middle Devonian basin-margin fish bed". Journal of the Geological Society. 156 (3): 535–548. doi:10.1144/gsjgs.156.3.0535.
  3. ^ "Term 'evaporite'". Oilfield Glossary. Archived from the original on 31 January 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  4. ^ Folk, R. L. (1974). Petrology of Sedimentary Rocks. Austin, Texas: Hemphill Publishing.
  5. ^ Dunham, R. J. (1962). "Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional textures". In Ham, W. E. Classification of Carbonate Rocks. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoirs. 1. pp. 108–121.
  6. ^ "Calcite". Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
  7. ^ Limestone (mineral). Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
  8. ^ "Isle of Wight, Minerals" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 November 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2006.
  9. ^ "Michigan Markers". Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  10. ^ a b Cassar, Joann (2010). "The use of limestone in historic context". In Smith, Bernard J. Limestone in the Built Environment: Present-day Challenges for the Preservation of the Past. Geographical Society of London. pp. 13–23. ISBN 9781862392946. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Welcome to the Limestone City". Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
  12. ^ Schele, Linda; Miller, Mary Ellen. The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art. Kimbell Art Museum. p. 41.
  13. ^ Kogel, Jessica Elzea (2006). Industrial Minerals & Rocks: Commodities, Markets, and Uses. SME. ISBN 9780873352338. Archived from the original on 16 December 2017.
  14. ^ "A Guide to Giving Your Layer Hens Enough Calcium". Poultry One. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009.
  15. ^ "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". World Health Organization report. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007.
  16. ^ "Limestone". NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. CDC. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  17. ^ Weaver, Martin E. (October 1995). "Removing Graffiti from Historic Masonry". National Park Service. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  18. ^ Ehrlich, Henry Lutz; Newman, Dianne K. (2009). Geomicrobiology (5th ed.). pp. 181–182. ISBN 9780849379079. Archived from the original on 10 May 2016.

Further reading

External links

  • Media related to Limestone at Wikimedia Commons
Calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks as the minerals calcite and aragonite (most notably as limestone, which is a type of sedimentary rock consisting mainly of calcite) and is the main component of pearls and the shells of marine organisms, snails, and eggs. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime and is created when calcium ions in hard water react with carbonate ions to create limescale. It is medicinally used as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive consumption can be hazardous.

Calcium oxide

Calcium oxide (CaO), commonly known as quicklime or burnt lime, is a widely used chemical compound. It is a white, caustic, alkaline, crystalline solid at room temperature. The broadly used term lime connotes calcium-containing inorganic materials, in which carbonates, oxides and hydroxides of calcium, silicon, magnesium, aluminium, and iron predominate. By contrast, quicklime specifically applies to the single chemical compound calcium oxide. Calcium oxide that survives processing without reacting in building products such as cement is called free lime.Quicklime is relatively inexpensive. Both it and a chemical derivative (calcium hydroxide, of which quicklime is the base anhydride) are important commodity chemicals.


Chalk is a soft, white, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is an ionic salt called calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite shells (coccoliths) shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores. Flint (a type of chert) is very common as bands parallel to the bedding or as nodules embedded in chalk. It is probably derived from sponge spicules or other siliceous organisms as water is expelled upwards during compaction. Flint is often deposited around larger fossils such as Echinoidea which may be silicified (i.e. replaced molecule by molecule by flint).

Chalk as seen in Cretaceous deposits of Western Europe is unusual among sedimentary limestones in the thickness of the beds. Most cliffs of chalk have very few obvious bedding planes unlike most thick sequences of limestone such as the Carboniferous Limestone or the Jurassic oolitic limestones. This presumably indicates very stable conditions over tens of millions of years.

Chalk has greater resistance to weathering and slumping than the clays with which it is usually associated, thus forming tall, steep cliffs where chalk ridges meet the sea. Chalk hills, known as chalk downland, usually form where bands of chalk reach the surface at an angle, so forming a scarp slope. Because chalk is well jointed it can hold a large volume of ground water, providing a natural reservoir that releases water slowly through dry seasons.


Dolostone or dolomite rock is a sedimentary carbonate rock that contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In old USGS publications, it was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones. Technically, dolostone has a stoichiometric ratio of nearly equal amounts of magnesium and calcium. Most dolostones formed as a magnesium replacement of limestone or lime mud prior to lithification. It is resistant to erosion and can either contain bedded layers or be unbedded. It is less soluble than limestone in weakly acidic groundwater, but it can still develop solution features over time. Dolostone can act as an oil and natural gas reservoir.

The term dolostone was introduced to avoid confusion with the mineral dolomite. The usage of the term dolostone is controversial because the name dolomite was first applied to the rock during the late 18th century and thus has technical precedence. The use of the term dolostone is not recommended by the Glossary of Geology published by the American Geological Institute. It is, however, used in some geological publications.

The geological process of conversion of calcite to dolomite is known as dolomitization and any intermediate product is known as "dolomitic limestone."The "dolomite problem" refers to the vast worldwide depositions of dolostone in past geologic record eluding a unified explanation for their formation.

The first geologist to distinguish dolomite rock from limestone was Belsazar Hacquet in 1778.

Indiana Limestone

Indiana limestone — also known as Bedford limestone — is a common regional term for Salem limestone, a geological formation primarily quarried in south central Indiana, USA, between the cities of Bloomington and Bedford.

Bedford, Indiana, has been noted to have the highest quality quarried limestone in the United States. Salem limestone, like all limestone, is a rock primarily formed of calcium carbonate. The limestone was deposited over millions of years as marine fossils decomposed at the bottom of a shallow inland sea which covered most of the present-day Midwestern United States during the Mississippian Period.


The Jurassic (; from Jura Mountains) was a geologic period and system that spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic Era, also known as the Age of Reptiles. The start of the period was marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Two other extinction events occurred during the period: the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction in the Early Jurassic, and the Tithonian event at the end; however, neither event ranks among the "Big Five" mass extinctions.

The Jurassic period is divided into three epochs: Early, Middle, and Late. Similarly, in stratigraphy, the Jurassic is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle Jurassic, and Upper Jurassic series of rock formations.

The Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, where limestone strata from the period were first identified.

By the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses: Laurasia to the north, and Gondwana to the south. This created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, and many of the arid deserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests.

On land, the fauna transitioned from the Triassic fauna, dominated by both dinosauromorph and crocodylomorph archosaurs, to one dominated by dinosaurs alone. The first birds also appeared during the Jurassic, having evolved from a branch of theropod dinosaurs. Other major events include the appearance of the earliest lizards, and the evolution of therian mammals, including primitive placentals. Crocodilians made the transition from a terrestrial to an aquatic mode of life. The oceans were inhabited by marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, while pterosaurs were the dominant flying vertebrates.


Karst is a topography formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves. It has also been documented for more weathering-resistant rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions. Subterranean drainage may limit surface water, with few to no rivers or lakes. However, in regions where the dissolved bedrock is covered (perhaps by debris) or confined by one or more superimposed non-soluble rock strata, distinctive karst features may occur only at subsurface levels and be totally missing above ground.

The study of karst is considered of prime importance in petroleum geology since as much as 50% of the world's hydrocarbon reserves are hosted in porous karst systems.

Lime (material)

Lime is a calcium-containing inorganic mineral composed primarily of oxides, and hydroxide, usually calcium oxide and/ or calcium hydroxide. It is also the name for calcium oxide which occurs as a product of coal seam fires and in altered limestone xenoliths in volcanic ejecta. The word lime originates with its earliest use as building mortar and has the sense of sticking or adhering.These materials are still used in large quantities as building and engineering materials (including limestone products, cement, concrete, and mortar), as chemical feedstocks, and for sugar refining, among other uses. Lime industries and the use of many of the resulting products date from prehistoric times in both the Old World and the New World. Lime is used extensively for wastewater treatment with ferrous sulfate.

The rocks and minerals from which these materials are derived, typically limestone or chalk, are composed primarily of calcium carbonate. They may be cut, crushed, or pulverized and chemically altered. Burning (calcination) converts them into the highly caustic material quicklime (calcium oxide) and, through subsequent addition of water, into the less caustic (but still strongly alkaline) slaked lime or hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2), the process of which is called slaking of lime. Lime kilns are the kilns used for lime burning and slaking.

When the term is encountered in an agricultural context, it usually refers to agricultural lime, which is crushed limestone, not a product of a lime kiln. Otherwise it most commonly means slaked lime, as the more dangerous form is usually described more specifically as quicklime or burnt lime.

Limestone County, Alabama

Limestone County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 82,782. Its county seat is Athens. Its name comes from Limestone Creek, a local stream.

Limestone County is included in the Huntsville, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Marble is typically not foliated, although there are exceptions. In geology, the term "marble" refers to metamorphosed limestone, but its use in stonemasonry more broadly encompasses unmetamorphosed limestone. Marble is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material.


Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and silt. The dominant carbonate mineral in most marls is calcite, but other carbonate minerals such as aragonite, dolomite, and siderite may be present. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, formed under freshwater conditions; specifically an earthy substance containing 35–65% clay and 65–35% carbonate. It also describes a habit of coralline red alga. The term is today often used to describe indurated marine deposits and lacustrine (lake) sediments which more accurately should be named 'marlstone'. Marlstone is an indurated (resists crumbling or powdering) rock of about the same composition as marl, more correctly called an earthy or impure argillaceous limestone. It has a blocky subconchoidal fracture, and is less fissile than shale. The term 'marl' is widely used in English-language geology, while the terms Mergel and Seekreide (German for "lake chalk") are used in European references.

The lower stratigraphic units of the chalk cliffs of Dover consist of a sequence of glauconitic marls followed by rhythmically banded limestone and marl layers. Upper Cretaceous cyclic sequences in Germany and marl–opal-rich Tortonian-Messinian strata in the Sorbas basin related to multiple sea drawdown have been correlated with Milankovitch orbital forcing.Marl as lacustrine sediment is common in post-glacial lake-bed sediments, often found underlying peat bogs. It has been used as a soil conditioner and acid soil neutralizing agent.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Limestone County, Alabama

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Limestone County, Alabama.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Limestone County, Alabama, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a Google map.There are 13 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted February 8, 2019.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Limestone County, Texas

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Limestone County, Texas.

This is intended to be a complete list of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Limestone County, Texas. There are four properties listed on the National Register in the county.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted February 8, 2019.

Niagara Escarpment

The Niagara Escarpment is a long escarpment, or cuesta, in the United States and Canada that runs predominantly east/west from New York, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The escarpment is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges at Niagara Falls, for which it is named.

The Escarpment is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It has the oldest forest ecosystem and trees in eastern North America.The Escarpment is composed of the Lockport geological formation of Silurian age, and is similar to the Onondaga geological formation, which runs parallel to it and just to the south, through western New York and southern Ontario. The Escarpment is the most prominent of several escarpments formed in the bedrock of the Great Lakes Basin. From its easternmost point near Watertown, New York, the escarpment shapes in part the individual basins and landforms of Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Michigan. In Rochester, New York, three waterfalls over the escarpment are where the Genesee River flows through the city. The escarpment thence runs westward to the Niagara River, forming a deep gorge north of Niagara Falls, which itself cascades over the escarpment. In southern Ontario, it spans the Niagara Peninsula, closely following the Lake Ontario shore through the cities of St. Catharines, Hamilton, and Dundas, where it takes a sharp turn north in the town of Milton toward Georgian Bay. It then follows the Georgian Bay shore northwestwards to form the spine of the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island, as well as several smaller islands in northern Lake Huron, where it turns westwards into the Upper Peninsula of northern Michigan, south of Sault Ste. Marie. It then extends southwards into Wisconsin following the Door Peninsula through the Bayshore Blufflands and then more inland from the western coast of Lake Michigan and Milwaukee, ending northwest of Chicago near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.


Oolite or oölite (egg stone) is a sedimentary rock formed from ooids, spherical grains composed of concentric layers. The name derives from the Ancient Greek word ᾠόν for egg. Strictly, oolites consist of ooids of 0.25–2 millimetres' diameter; rocks composed of ooids larger than 2 mm are called pisolites. The term oolith can refer to oolite or individual ooids.

Portland stone

Portland stone is a limestone from the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The quarries consist of beds of white-grey limestone separated by chert beds. It has been used extensively as a building stone throughout the British Isles, notably in major public buildings in London such as St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. Portland stone is also exported to many countries—being used for example in the United Nations headquarters building in New York City.


A sarcophagus (pl: sarcophagi) is a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σάρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγεῖν phagein meaning "to eat", hence sarcophagus means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase lithos sarkophagos (λίθος σαρκοφάγος). Since lithos is Greek for "stone", lithos sarcophagos means "flesh-eating stone". The word also came to refer to a particular kind of limestone that was thought to rapidly facilitate the decomposition of the flesh of corpses contained within it due to the chemical properties of the limestone itself.

Sedimentary rock

Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the deposition and subsequent cementation of mineral or organic particles on the floor of oceans or other bodies of water at the Earth's surface. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause these particles to settle in place. The particles that form a sedimentary rock are called sediment, and may be composed of geological detritus (minerals) or biological detritus (organic matter). Before being deposited, the geological detritus was formed by weathering and erosion from the source area, and then transported to the place of deposition by water, wind, ice, mass movement or glaciers, which are called agents of denudation. Biological detritus was formed by bodies and parts (mainly shells) of dead aquatic organisms, as well as their fecal mass, suspended in water and slowly piling up on the floor of water bodies (marine snow). Sedimentation may also occur as dissolved minerals precipitate from water solution.

The sedimentary rock cover of the continents of the Earth's crust is extensive (73% of the Earth's current land surface), but the total contribution of sedimentary rocks is estimated to be only 8% of the total volume of the crust. Sedimentary rocks are only a thin veneer over a crust consisting mainly of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Sedimentary rocks are deposited in layers as strata, forming a structure called bedding. The study of sedimentary rocks and rock strata provides information about the subsurface that is useful for civil engineering, for example in the construction of roads, houses, tunnels, canals or other structures. Sedimentary rocks are also important sources of natural resources like coal, fossil fuels, drinking water or ores.

The study of the sequence of sedimentary rock strata is the main source for an understanding of the Earth's history, including palaeogeography, paleoclimatology and the history of life. The scientific discipline that studies the properties and origin of sedimentary rocks is called sedimentology. Sedimentology is part of both geology and physical geography and overlaps partly with other disciplines in the Earth sciences, such as pedology, geomorphology, geochemistry and structural geology. Sedimentary rocks have also been found on Mars.


Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, cream-colored, and even rusty varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. In the latter, it can form stalactites, stalagmites, and other speleothems. It is frequently used in Italy and elsewhere as a building material.

Travertine is a terrestrial sedimentary rock, formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from solution in ground and surface waters, and/or geothermally heated hot-springs. Similar (but softer and extremely porous) deposits formed from ambient-temperature water are known as tufa.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.