Harker, Robert I. Department of Geology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Liou, Juhn G. Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Calcium carbonate relations
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A mineral composed of calcium carbonate (CaCO3); one of the most common and widespread minerals in the Earth's crust. Calcite may be found in a great variety of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. It is also an important rock-forming mineral and is the sole major constituent of limestones, marbles, and many carbonatites. Calcite in such rocks is the main source of the world's quicklime and hydrated, or slaked, lime. It is also widely used as a metallurgical flux to scavenge siliceous impurities by forming a slag in smelting furnaces. It provides the essential calcium oxide component in common glasses and cement. Limestones and marbles of lower purity find uses as dimension stone, soil conditioners, industrial acid neutralizers, and aggregate for concrete and road building. Calcite in transparent well-formed crystals is used in certain optical instruments. See also: Carbonatite; Crystal optics; Lime (industry); Limestone; Stone and stone products
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