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What are the different types of limestone?

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Quick Answer

Limestone types may be formed either inorganically or biochemically and include coral reefs, chalks, coquina and oolitic limestone. Limestone is composed of calcite and makes up approximately 10 percent of all sedimentary rocks.

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Limestone is found in many parts of the world, both on land and in water, including Central America and England. Numerous conditions exist to produce many types of limestone. The skeletons of invertebrate animals make up limestone originating from coral reefs. Algae that live within the reefs secrete calcium carbonate to seal the structures of the organisms together, helping to form the hardened structures.

Chalk is an example of a biochemically produced limestone. It is produced from the skeletal parts of marine organisms. Poorly cemented shells and shell fragments produce the limestone that is known as coquina.

Caves contain inorganic limestone sources known as stalactites and stalagmites. Calcium carbonate, that is dissolved in water, forms limestone that is often referred to as dripstone. Oolitic limestone is another type of limestone that is inorganic. It is formed from spherical grains called ooids. Small particles that are suspended on shallow marine waters are where these grains form. Calcium carbonate is present in the water and forms in layers, contributing to the limestone formations.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where does limestone come from?

    A:

    Limestone comes from either the accumulation of organic debris of shells, fecal matter, algae and corals or from dissolved calcium carbonate depositing on the seafloor. It is primarily made of calcium carbonate in the form of the mineral, calcite. Limestone generally forms in clear, warm, shallow marine environments.

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  • Q:

    What are limestone pavers?

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    Limestone pavers are cut pieces of limestone used for driveways, walkways, patios, pool edging and other applications. Limestone is a sedimentary rock made of minerals, crystals, grainy deposits and marine organisms. Travertine and marble are also types of limestone.

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  • Q:

    What are some things to know about geode hunting?

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    The best places to look for geodes are in the desert, in volcanic ash beds or in places with high concentrations of limestone. In the United States, that includes parts of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. Iowa is also a good spot to search, and the geode is their state rock. Geodes are round rocks that have a hollow cavity that is lined with crystals. The color and type of crystals are only revealed when the rock is opened.

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  • Q:

    How does marble form?

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    Marble is a soft metamorphic rock that forms at the edges of tectonic plates, where limestone is exposed to regional metamorphism. The heat and pressure of the metamorphic zone force calcite inside the limestone to recrystallize and merge into the classic marble consistency.

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