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(kăl`sīt), very widely distributed mineral, commonly white or colorless, but appearing in a great variety of colors owing to impurities. Chemically it is calcium carbonate, CaCO3, but it frequently contains manganese, iron, or magnesium in place of the calcium. It crystallizes in the hexagonal system, its crystals being characterized by highly perfect cleavage. Calcite also occurs in a number of massive forms, in which it may be coarsely to finely granular (as in marble), compact (as in limestone), powdery (as in chalk), or fibrous. One crystalline form, called dogtooth spar because of its dogtooth appearance, exhibits faces of perfect scalene triangles. Another form, satin spar, is finely fibrous and has a satin luster. Iceland sparIceland spar,
colorless variety of crystallized calcite, characterized by its properties of transparency and double refraction. It is used chiefly in the manufacture of Nicol prisms, which are essential parts of polarizing microscopes and other optical instruments.
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 is clear, transparent calcite. Other important forms of the mineral are limestonelimestone,
sedimentary rock wholly or in large part composed of calcium carbonate. It is ordinarily white but may be colored by impurities, iron oxide making it brown, yellow, or red and carbon making it blue, black, or gray. The texture varies from coarse to fine.
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, marblemarble,
metamorphic rock composed wholly or in large part of calcite or dolomite crystals, the crystalline texture being the result of metamorphism of limestone by heat and pressure.
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, chalkchalk,
mineral of calcium carbonate, similar in composition to limestone, but softer. It is characteristically a marine formation and sometimes occurs in great thickness; the chief constituents of these chalk deposits are the shells of minute animals called foraminiferans.
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, marlmarl
or bog lime,
soil, essentially clay mixed with carbonate of lime, highly valued as a dressing or fertilizer. It crumbles rapidly and easily. Marl in which the lime is in the form of invertebrate shells is called shell marl.
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, stalactite and stalagmitestalactite and stalagmite
, mineral forms often found in caves; sometimes collectively called dripstone. A stalactite is an icicle-shaped mass of calcite attached to the roof of a limestone cavern.
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 formations, travertinetravertine
, form of massive calcium carbonate, CaCO3, resulting from deposition by springs or rivers. It is often beautifully colored and banded as a result of the presence of iron compounds or other (e.g., organic) impurities.
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, and Oriental alabasteralabaster,
fine-grained, massive, translucent variety of gypsum, a hydrous calcium sulfate. It is pure white or streaked with reddish brown. Alabaster, like all other forms of gypsum, forms by the evaporation of bedded deposits that are precipitated mainly from evaporating
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. Millions of tons of calcite, in the form of limestone and marble, are mined annually. Besides its use as a building stone, it is the raw material for quicklime and cement, and is used extensively as a flux in smeltingsmelting,
in metallurgy, any process of melting or fusion, especially to extract a metal from its ore. Smelting processes vary in detail depending on the nature of the ore and the metal involved, but they are typified in the use of the blast furnace.
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 and as a soil conditioner.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(calcareous spar), a mineral with chemical composition CaCO3, containing 56 percent CaO and 44 percent CO2 and frequently Mg, Fe, Mn (up to 8 percent) as well as Zn, Co, Sr, and Ba. Calcite crystallizes in the trigonal system. It exists in the form of crystals with various habits—rhombohedral, scalenohedral, prismatic, or tabular—as well as in the form of stalactites and solid, granular, and earthy masses (chalk). The Ca and C atoms in the calcite structure are arranged at the lattice points of the rhombohedral lattices as though pushed into one another. The O atoms are in groups of three around each C atom and lie in the same plane. Calcite is brittle and exhibits perfect cleavage on the rhombohedron [1011]. Twins are a characteristic feature. Calcite crystals exhibit a high birefringence, and many are strongly fluorescent. Calcite’s hardness on the mineralogical scale is 3 and its density, 2, 720-2, 800 kg/m3. When heated, calcite decomposes at a temperature of 825°C; it is readily soluble in acids.

Calcite is one of the most widely distributed minerals in the earth’s crust, particularly among the hydrothermal formations in contact metasomatic deposits and in amygdaloids and geodes of igneous rocks. It is sometimes formed under magmatogenic conditions, producing carbonatites. Calcite precipitates from hot calcareous springs in the form of tufa (travertine). Enormous masses of calcite are formed as deposits in ocean basins, partly by biogenesis. Calcite appears as the main constituent of limestone, marble, and other sedimentary and metamorphic rocks widely used as construction and facing materials. Pure and transparent varieties of calcite—for example, Icelandic spar—are used in the optics industry.


Opticheskie materialy dlia infrakrasnoi tekhniki.Moscow, 1965.
“Kal’tsit.” In Fizicheskii entsiklopedicheskii slovar’, vol. 2. Moscow, 1962.
Kostov, I. Mineralogiia. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from English.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


CaCO3 One of the commonest minerals, the principal constituent of limestone; hexagonal-rhombohedral crystal structure, dimorphous with aragonite. Also known as calcspar.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A mineral form of calcium carbonate; the principal constituent of limestone, chalk, and marble; usually a major raw material used in portland cement manufacture.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a colourless or white mineral (occasionally tinged with impurities), found in sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, in veins, in limestone, and in stalagmites and stalactites. It is used in the manufacture of cement, plaster, paint, glass, and fertilizer. Composition: calcium carbonate. Formula: CaCO3. Crystal structure: hexagonal (rhombohedral)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, 1 ton of hydrated lime has the equivalent neutralizing capacity of approximately 1.4 ton of calcitic limestone.
He compared the performance of slag to comparable rates of calcitic and dolomitic limestone and concluded that granulated slag was as effective at the two rates used (3.36 and 6.72 Mg [ha.sup.-1]) as either type of limestone.
(1999) generated a large database of several thousand well-preserved calcitic shells that cover this entire 545 million years time span.
Calcitic limestone was applied on 9 June 2000 and 14 May 2001 at 2,450 kg CaC[O.sub.3] [ha.sup.-1], and on 27 Aug.
The Dover chalks are an unfortunate choice for comparison because they're composed primarily of the calcitic remains of microscopic marine phytoplankton.
An earlier study by Donigian, et al., had shown increasing sheet gloss and decreasing print gloss trends as the average particle size decreased when using calcitic precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) pigments with a prismatic morphology.
Calcitic limestone [Mississippi Lime] was applied at a rate of 45.5 kg (100 lbs.) in August of 1998 to provide an equivalent surface coverage of 1943 kg [ha.sup.-1] (1742 lbs.
Common liming materials include calcitic limestone, dolomitic limestone, burned lime, and hydrated lime.
Red Hill, PA), a blend of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and dolomitic and calcitic limestone, with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.0, in the greenhouse and transplanted into rows on July 14, 1999.