Applied geology of industrial limestone and dolomite (1971)

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Authors: Lawerence Rooney
Donald Carr

INTRODUCTION: The title of this report as first proposed was "What a Consulting Geologist Should Know About Industrial Limestone" because this effort was born of a request from the Indiana-Kentucky Geological Society, Inc., for a refresher course in the economic geology of limestone. The present title was adopted, however, because the completed report is understandable to anyone with some formal or informal geologic training and an interest in the applied geology of industrial limestones. Many of Indiana's mineral producers have developed a keen understanding of the geology associated with the particular deposit that they work, but because of a lack of training, they do not know how geology can be used in a broader sense to explore and exploit limestone deposits. We believe that this report will help answer some of the questions frequently asked by both the consulting geologist and the mineral producer. Consulting geologists and mineral producers certainly need to know something about industrial limestone. The total tonnage of carbonate rocks mined or consumed in the United States in 1968 was about 603 million tons and the total value about 857 million dollars (U.S. Bureau of Mines, Minerals Yearbook, 1968). To meet the need for this basic building block of our society, the deposits now being sought must be larger, purer, and more strategically situated than ever before. Once a new quarry meant the investment of a few tens of thousands of dollars. Now it is likely to mean a million or more. The producer cannot afford to make this investment in an inadequate deposit. He needs the help of a geologist, and he needs to be able to evaluate geologic information properly. To reach as broad an audience as possible, we have used a minimum of technical terms. According to custom, industrial limestone of limestone is here synonymous with limestone and dolomite unless the contest indicates otherwise. The chemical composition of limestone is important in many uses, and limestone and dolomite are often described in terms of their carbonate context. These terms are arbitrary and depend partly on the context, both in terms of use and availability of high-grade limestone. As used in this report, high-calcium limestone is limestone composed of 95 percent CaCO3. Ultra-high calcium limestone is more than 97 percent CaCO3, high-purity carbonate rock is more than 95 percent combined CaCO3 and MgCO3, and high-purity dolomite is more than 42 percent MgCO3. (Theoretically, pure dolomite would contain 45.7 percent MgCO3.)



Rooney, L. F., Carr, D. D. 1971,  Applied geology of industrial limestone and dolomite: Indiana Geological Survey Bulletin 46, 59 p., 16 fig.


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Keywords: industrial minerals, limestone, dolomite, calcium carbonate

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