What is Marble?
-- The Classic and Elegant Natural Stone
Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from regional or at times contact metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, either limestone or dolostone. This metamorphic process causes a complete recrystallization of the original rock into an interlocking mosaic of calcite and/or dolomite crystals. The temperature and pressure necessary to form marble usually destroy any fossils and sedimentary textures present in the original rock.
Marble is significantly softer than granite, making carving and etching much easier. For this reason, marble is often used as a decorative element or to create pillars, fountains or sculptures. Sometimes patterns are cut into the stone. Due to its softness and its highly reactive nature to acids, marble is not recommended for kitchen countertops. Marble can be used for floorings, vanities, sinks and fireplace surrounds.
Marble is metamorphosed limestone, composed of fairly pure calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). Its unique look is largely due to the veining patterns inherent in its composition. Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of very pure limestones. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally high magnesium limestone or dolostone with silica impurities. These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphism.