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Mastaba chapel wall
MFA# 13.4352


Lintel of Kameni
MFA# 27.1132

A fine-grain, sedimentary rock. Limestone is composed primarily of Calcium carbonate in the form of Calcite or Aragonite. Trace amounts of Dolomite, iron oxide, Quartz, Clay, or organic particles can also be present. Due to these impurities, limestone can vary in color from a cream to yellow to pink to brown to dark gray. Limestone is formed from compressed and cemented seashells and marine animal skeletons (reefs) or reprecipitation (stalactites, stalagmites). It is softer and more easily worked than marble. Chalk is a soft, porous, fine-grain limestone. Coquina is a porous, soft limestone made up of visible shell fragments. Limestone is used as a building stone and for sculpture as well as in the manufacture of Lime, Carbon dioxide, and Cement.

Synonyms and Related Terms

quina; caliza (Esp.); calcaire (Fr.); calcário (Port.); Kalkstein (Deut.); kalksteen (Ned.)




CHSOS XRF of Chalk.jpg


  • No significant hazard. Noncombustible.
  • Arlweb: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in acids with the evolution of carbon dioxide gas.

Composition CaCO3
CAS 1317-65-3
Mohs Hardness 3.0 - 4.0
Density 2.1-2.7 g/ml

Resources and Citations

  • B.Aston, J.Harrell, I.Shaw, "Stone" in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, P.Nicholson, I.Shaw (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 40-43.
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: limestones density = 1.164 - 2.483; calcite density = 2.71
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Thomas C. Jester (ed.), Twentieth-Century Building Materials, McGraw-Hill Companies, Washington DC, 1995
  • Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technologies, Paul Nicholson, Ian Shaw (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000 Comment: B.Aston, J.Harrell, I.Shaw, "Stone"
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=2.68-2.76