A non-foliated metamorphic rock that creates when limestone is based on heat and pressure.Article by: Hobart M. King, PhD, RPG
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Pink Marble: A piece of pink marble about four customs (ten centimeters) across. The pink shade is most likely acquired from iron. Photo by NASA.

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What is Marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to the heat and pressure the metamorphism. That is composed mostly of the mineral calcite (CaCO3) and usually consists of other minerals, such together clay minerals, micas, quartz, pyrite, stole oxides, and also graphite.

Under the conditions of metamorphism, the calcite in the limestone recrystallizes to type a rock the is a massive of interlocking calcite crystals. A related rock, dolomitic marble, is produced when dolostone is based on heat and also pressure.

photograph Gallery: The many Uses that Marble


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Ruby in Marble: Marble is frequently the host rock because that corundum, spinel, and other gem minerals. This specimen is a piece of white marble v a large red ruby decision from Afghanistan. Specimen is about 1 1/4 inches throughout (about 3 centimeters). Specimen and also photo by Arkenstone / www.iRocks.com.


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How does Marble Form?

The transformation of limestone into marble usually occurs in ~ convergent plate limits where big areas the Earth"s crust are exposed to the heat and also pressure of local metamorphism. Part marble additionally forms by contact metamorphism as soon as a hot magma human body heats surrounding limestone or dolostone. This procedure also occurs at convergent plate boundaries

Before metamorphism, the calcite in the limestone is regularly in the type of lithified fossil material and also biological debris. During metamorphism, this calcite recrystallizes and the structure of the absent changes.

In the beforehand stages the the limestone-to-marble transformation, the calcite crystals in the rock are really small. In a freshly-broken hand specimen, they might only be recognized as a sugary sparkle the light showing from their tiny cleavage encounters when the absent is play in the light.

As metamorphism progresses, the crystals thrive larger and become easily recognizable together interlocking crystals that calcite. Recrystallization obscures the original fossils and sedimentary frameworks of the limestone. It additionally occurs without developing foliation, which generally is uncovered in rocks that are altered by the directed push of a convergent bowl boundary.

Recrystallization is what clues the separation between limestone and also marble. Marble that has been exposed to low levels ofmetamorphism will have very small calcite crystals. The crystals usually prosper in size and as the level of metamorphism progresses.

Clay minerals within the marble will change to micas and also more complex silicate frameworks as the level the metamorphism increases. Part might contribute to the formation of gem mineral such as corundum - the mineral that ruby and sapphire.


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Physical Properties and Uses of Marble

Marble occurs in large deposits that have the right to be hundreds of feet thick and also geographically extensive. This allows it to be economically mined on a large scale, v some mines and quarries creating millions of tons per year.

Most marble is made right into either crushed rock or dimension stone. Crushed rock is offered as an aggregate in highways, railroad beds, building foundations, and other types of construction.

Dimension stone is produced by sawing marble right into pieces of specific dimensions. These are used in monuments, buildings, sculptures, paving and other projects. We have actually an article about "the uses of marble" that includes photos and descriptions the marble in many types of uses.


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Gray Marble: This specimen has actually calcite cleavage deals with up to several millimeters in size that are reflecting light. The specimen is around two inches (five centimeters) across.

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Color: Marble is usually a light-colored rock. When it is formed from a limestone with very few impurities, it will be white in color. Marble that has impurities such together clay minerals, stole oxides, or bituminous material can be bluish, gray, pink, yellow, or black in color.

Marble of extremely high purity through a shining white shade is very useful. The is regularly mined, crushed to a powder, and thenprocessed to remove as plenty of impurities together possible. The resulting product is dubbed "whiting." This powder is offered as a colour agent and also filler in paint, whitewash, putty, plastic, grout, cosmetics, paper, and other made products.


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Acid Reaction: Being composed of calcium carbonate, marble will certainly react in contact with numerous acids, neutralizing the acid. It is just one of the most reliable acid neutralization materials. Marble is frequently crushed and also used for acid neutralization in streams, lakes, and also soils.

It is used for mountain neutralization in the chemical market as well. Medicine antacid medicines such together "Tums" save on computer calciumcarbonate, which is periodically made native powdered marble. These drugs are helpful to civilization who experience from acid reflux or mountain indigestion. Powdered marble is offered as one inert filler in other pills.

Hardness: Being written of calcite, marble has actually a hardness of three on the Mohs hardness scale. Together a result, marble is simple tocarve, and also that makes it helpful for producing sculptures and ornamental objects. The translucence of marble makes itespecially attractive for many types of sculptures.

The low hardness and also solubility the marble enables it to be supplied as a calcium additive in animal feeds. Calcium additive are specifically important because that dairy cows and also egg-producing chickens. It is likewise used together a low-hardness abrasive for scrubbing bathroom and also kitchen fixtures.

Ability to accept a Polish: After gift sanded with significantly finer abrasives, marble can bepolished come a high luster. This permits attractive piece of marble to be cut, polished, and also used as floor tiles, architecturalpanels, encountering stone, window sills, stair treads, columns, and also many various other pieces of decorative stone.

Another definition of Marble

The name "marble" is provided in a different way in the dimension stone trade. Any type of crystalline carbonate rock that has actually an capacity to expropriate a polishing is called "marble." The surname is occasionally used for other soft rocks such together travertine, verd antique,serpentine, and also some limestones.


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