Carbonate Rocks

Published: September 10, 2018 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Carbonate Rocks Mean?

Carbonate rocks compose approximately 20 to 25% of all sedimentary rocks. The calcite group (which includes limestone and its constituents) includes the calcite, magnasite, rhodochrosite, siderite and smithsonite. The dolomite group includes both dolomite and anchorite. The dolomite group includes cerusite, argonite and strontionite. This group of rocks includes limestone, which is primarily calcite minerals, and dolomite, which is primarily composed of dolomite minerals. Carbonates from the Mesozoic era are primarily limestone. Those from the Precambrian and Paleozoic eras are primarily dolomite.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Carbonate Rocks

Calcites are the principal element in marble and limestone, both used as building materials. Calcite also has less noble uses including abrasive material, agricultural treatments, the aggregate in concrete and in pharmaceuticals. Its principal properties include white, red, gray, green, blue, yellowish-brown and orange coloration. Regardless of the primary color, it has a streak of white in it. Geologists refer to it as a vitreous rock which lacks luster. It may be translucent or transparent. Its cleavage, when split, is in three directions, forming a perfect rhombohederal shape, with curved crystal phases and not infrequent twinning. Its Moh’s number is 3, its specific gravity is 2.7.

Limestone, the most common carbonate rock, can be found wherever old seabeds are found, no matter how far inland. Any time a geotechnical investigation mentions bivalve fossils as one of the finds in their investigation, the area where they found those fossils contains carbonate rocks.


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