Marble is a metamorphic rock consisting of course crystals primarily from limestone and dolomite, according to the Georgia State University Department of Physics & Astronomy. The department states that pure marble composed of calcite is white. This versatile rock has been used for centuries by sculptors and artists. Modern uses include the construction of countertops and floors in homes. The properties of marble and chemical processes have made it one of the most used rocks on the planet.
How is Marble Created
Marble forms when limestone is heated and experiences pressure in the earth’s crust. The pressure ignites a process called crystallization, thus changing marble’s texture and characteristics. According to Minerals Zone, fossilized materials in limestone and carbonate minerals recrystallize, resulting in large, coarse grains of calcite.
The amount of impurities present during the chemical processes affect marble’s mineral composition. The mineral composition of marble, therefore, determines the colors different grades of marble manifest. For example, the more hematite present produces a red color, limestone results in yellowish marble, and serpentine produces greenish coloring.
Physical Properties of Marble
Marble is a hard, compact rock with a fine grain, which makes it hard to split into even sheets. Despite the difficulty in splitting marble, it is easy to polish and shine. Marble also has the durability to withstand different temperatures and does not usually react to wet weather. We have many historic marble structures because they don’t erode or burn in fires.
Chemical Properties of Marble
The types of marble vary by the region of the world it is found in and the mineral composition of the soil. In general, all marble contains calcite, dolomite or serpentine materials. Minerals Zone says that the amount of lime (CaO) makes up between 28-32 percent. The amount of silica in marble has the largest variation, ranging from 3-30 percent.
Uses for Marble
Some of the most famous works of art in history owe their creation to marble. Ancient Greek buildings still standing today are constructed out of marble. Ancients also used marble for dishes and vases. Italian artist Michelangelo used marble for his sculptures, and architects used marble for designs on churches and cathedrals. In the United States, parts of the Lincoln Memorial contain marble. Because marble comes in so many different colors, it adds unique color sequences to the places it’s used. Caves all over the world invite visitors to see marble in its natural state.
Marble, which starts as a pressurized rocks, has been a part of societies formation since ancient times. There are so many varieties because of the different minerals in the countries in which they are formed. The fascinating processes that occur have made marble versatile and strong. These qualities make it uses for construction and invaluable to sculptors.