- Carbonate rock
Carbonate rocks are a class of
sedimentary rocks composed primarily of carbonate minerals. The two major types are limestoneand dolomite, composed of calcite(CaCO3) and the mineral dolomite(CaMg(CO3)2) respectively. Chalkand tufaare also minor sedimentary carbonates.
Calcite can be either dissolved by
groundwateror precipitated by groundwater, depending on several factors including the water temperature, pH, and dissolved ionconcentrations. Calcite exhibits an unusual characteristic called retrograde solubilityin which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases.
When conditions are right for precipitation, calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together or it can fill fractures.
Karst topographyand caves develop in carbonate rocks due to their solubilityin dilute acidic groundwater. Cooling groundwater or mixing of different groundwaters will also create conditions suitable for cave formation. Marbleis the metamorphic carbonate rock. Rare igneouscarbonate rocks exist as intrusive carbonatites and even more rare volcaniccarbonate lava.
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