What is Limestone?
Limestone is formed from sedimentary type of rocks and contains mostly calcite or aragonite. Calcite typically comes from organisms that live on water. Most limestones are formed in shallow bodies of water that are usually warm. Over time, organic sediments from corals in the sea, shells, algae and other debris from the water form the common limestone. This formation is said to be the organic type. Other types of limestone are formed as precipitates of the compound calcium carbonate which is abundant in water. This type of limestone formation is considered to be a chemical process. Another process that may produce limestones is evaporation. In the case of caves, droplets of water may come down from the cave ceiling and during times when these droplets evaporate in the air, some calcium carbonate will be left and stay on the cave ceiling and become what we call as stalactites. These droplets of water that form like solid cones of calcium carbonate are “travertine” type of sedimentary rocks. On the other hand, the droplets of water that reach the ground will also form sediments and cones on the ground which are called stalagmites.
Limestones in pure form are said to be white in color. They only come in different colors because of many substances that cause impurities on them. These substances may include sand, clay, or iron oxide that is present in the water.
Much of limestone is used in the construction industry particularly in making roads and buildings. Limestone also plays an important role in the making of cement. In the past, limestones have been used extensively in the building of structures. But aside from its use in the building and construction industry, this material is also used in making sculptures, cosmetic items, livestock feed, paint, certain medicines, floor tiles, toothpaste, and plastic products among other things.
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