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chalk, 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. Chalk has been laid down in all periods of geologic time, but most of the best-known deposits, e.g., the cliffs of the English Channel, date from the Cretaceous period. Chalk is used in the manufacture of putty, plaster, cement, quicklime, mortar, and rubber goods and also for blackboard chalk. Harder forms are used as building stones. Poor soils containing an excessive proportion of clay are frequently improved and sweetened by mixing chalk into them.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a weakly cemented, fine-grained variety of carbonate rock that has the property of rubbing off when pressed against a surface. It consists primarily of calcium carbonate that is of natural origin or is synthetically obtained. Natural chalk is composed primarily of calcite skeletal particles of microorganisms: the calcareous algae Coccolithophoridae (70–90 percent) and the rhizopods Foraminifera (1–20 percent). Chalk occasionally contains mollusk shells and the skeletons of pearlworts, sea urchins, sea lilies, siliceous sponges, and corals.

The chemical composition of chalk is 50–55 percent CaO, 0.2–0.3 percent MgO, 0.5–6.0 percent SiO2, 0.2–4.0 percent Al2O3, 0.02–0.7 percent Fe2O3 + FeO, and 40–43 percent CO2. The mineral composition is 90–99 percent calcite, 1–8 percent clay minerals (montmorillonite, hydromica, and kaolinite), 0.01–0.1 percent pyrite, 0.1–0.5 percent glauconite, 0.2–6 percent quartz, 0.01–7.0 percent opal, 0.01–0.50 percent zeolite-heulandite, and 0.01 percent barite. More than 90 percent of the particles in chalk are usually less than 0.01 mm in size. The density of chalk is 2.70–2.72 g/cm3. The volumetric mass of the skeleton is 1.42–1.56 g/cm3. Porosity is 45–50 percent. Natural moisture is 30–33 percent. Wet chalk has a compressive strength of 1–2 meganewtons per sq m (10–20 kilograms-force per sq cm); the corresponding figure for dry chalk is 4–5 meganewtons per sq m (40–50 kilograms-force per sq cm). Concretions of flint, pyrite, and phosphorite are sometimes scattered throughout the chalk. Chalk is a semihardened sea ooze deposited at depths of 30–500 m and more. It is common in nature and is primarily confined to Upper Cretaceous and Lower Paleogene beds.

The largest zone of chalk deposits stretches from the Emba River in Western Kazakhstan to Great Britain. In places the beds are hundreds of meters thick—for example, 600 m in the Kharkov region.

Depending on the method of production and area of primary use, chalk in the USSR is subdivided into types, brands, and grades established by the All-Union State Standards (1972). Chalk is used in agriculture for liming soils and for animal feed supplements. In industry chalk is used to produce cement and lime; as a filler for rubber, plastics, and paints and varnishes; in obtaining soda and glass; in sugar refining; and in the production of chalk for school. Precipitated chalk is used in medicine (as a therapeutic preparation) and in the toiletries industry (as a constituent of tooth powders). In the plastic arts chalk is used as a base for levkas and other grounds and as a component in making paints (including pastels). White chalk and black chalk are used for drawing.

In the USSR chalk deposits are concentrated in Briansk, Belgorod, Ul’ianovsk, and Saratov oblasts of the RSFSR and in the Ukrainian SSR, the Byelorussian SSR, and the Kazakh SSR; the major deposits abroad are in France (the Paris Basin), Great Britain, and Denmark.


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


Artificially prepared pure calcium carbonate; used as the basis for pastels. Also known as whiting.
A variety of limestone formed from pelagic organisms; it is very fine-grained, porous, and friable; white or very light-colored, it consists almost entirely of calcite.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A soft limestone, usually white, gray, or buff in color, composed chiefly of the calcareous remains of marine organisms.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a soft fine-grained white sedimentary rock consisting of nearly pure calcium carbonate, containing minute fossil fragments of marine organisms, usually without a cementing material
2. Billiards Snooker a small cube of prepared chalk or similar substance for rubbing the tip of a cue
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Tragedy struck on July 28 last year when Barker, his girlfriend Claire Armstrong, aged 23, friend Ryan Purdy, aged 22, and the children had visited a flooded chalk pit known as the Blue Lagoon at Arlesey, Beds.
The judge condemned Courtney Barker, 22, over a stunt which went horrifically wrong at a flooded chalk pit known as the Blue Lagoon.
Witnesses told a jury at Luton Crown Court how the blue Vauxhall Astra Estate driven by Courtney Barker "flew" off the 16ft cliff on the edge of a fooded chalk pit known as the Blue Lagoon in Arlesey, Bedfordshire, in July last year.
+5 Race rating 10 NEW December 3 Plumpton 3m2f Handicap Chase 1.Beware Chalk Pit 2.Dushy Valley 3.Laughing Game 8 ran Record of first four home: 0 win from 0 run = 0 Record of last four home: 2 wins from 3 runs - Quartz De Montceau, Ballinhassig = +4 Total record: 2 wins from 3 runs (67%) for a profit of +PS19 to PS1 levels.
FONTWELL: 2.00 Clowance House, 2.30 Paddy The Yank, 3.00 Coolbeg, 3.30 Beware Chalk Pit, 4.00 Septos (nap), 4.30 Curragh Dancer, 5.00 Ashes House.
Paul Castles THE MAIL'S RACING CORRESPONDENT Paul's Top Tips CATTERICK 2.20 Bromhead 2.50 Flichity 3.20 Sambelucky 3.50 Bardolet 4.20 Sweet Caroline 4.50 Braden Brook 5.20 Bahira FONTWELL 2.00 Clowance House 2.30 Paddy The Yank 3.00 Coolbeg 3.30 Beware Chalk Pit 4.00 Septos 4.30 Curragh Dancer 5.00 Old Rusty Cross (nap) KEMPTON 5.30 Brilliant Barca 6.00 Lytham 6.30 Layline 7.00 Chimpunk 7.30 Sir Boss 8.00 Peadar Miguel 8.30 Royal Envoy LINGFIELD 2.10 Stadium Of Light 2.40 Grey Boy 3.10 Patavium Prince 3.40 Cool Macavity 4.10 Jolly Ranch 4.40 Force Group 5.10 Fashionable Gal TOMORROW KEMPTON 5.30 Slikback Jack 6.00 Better Self 6.30 Oh My Days 7.00 Prince Blue 7.30 Valmina 8.00 Head To Head 8.30 Thunderball TOMORROW'S JUMPS MEETINGS ARE AT WINCANTON, CARLISLE & FOLKESTONE
NAOMI MATTHEW: 2.00 Grand Vision, 2.30 Laneguy, 3.00 Blue Signal, 3.30 Beware Chalk Pit, 4.00 Septos, 4.30 Curragh Dancer, 5.00 Ashes House.
Tragedy struck on July 28 last year when Barker, his girlfriend Claire Armstrong, 23, friend Ryan Purdy, 22, and the children had visited a flooded chalk pit known as the Blue Lagoon at Arlesey, Beds.
A court heard that Courtney Barker, 22, was "showing off", driving with his right leg outside the car when it went into a flooded chalk pit known as the Blue Lagoon in Bedfordshire.
Despite not having a driving licence, tax, MOT or insurance, he would drive the family around and take them to the flooded chalk pit in Arlesey, known as the Blue Lagoon.
The court heard that tragedy struck on July 28, 2001 when Barker, Miss Armstrong, their friend Ryan Purdy, aged 22, and the children travelled to a flooded chalk pit known as the Blue Lagoon at Arlesey, Bedfordshire, to sunbathe and swim.
The final handicap chase of interest is Beware Chalk Pit's 3m2f win at Plumpton on December 3 (No.10), where the only two runners from the race both gained compensation (see chart).