Marble is a rock widely used in buildings, monuments, and sculptures. It consists chiefly of calcite or dolomite, or a combination of these carbonate minerals. Marble is a type of metamorphic rock formed from limestone. Marble is found in many countries, including Belgium, France, Great Britain, Greece, India, Italy, and Spain.
Marble is formed from limestone by heat and pressure in the earth's crust. These forces cause the limestone to change in texture and makeup. This process is called recrystallization. Fossilized materials in the limestone, along with its original carbonate minerals, recrystallise and form large, coarse grains of calcite. Impurities present in the limestone during recrystallization affect the mineral composition of the marble that forms. The minerals that result from impurities give marble wide variety of colours. The purest calcite marble is white. Marble containing hematite has a reddish colour. Marble that has limonite is yellow, and marble with serpentine is green.
Marble does not split easily into sheets of equal size and must be mined carefully. The rock may shatter if explosives are used. Blocks of marble are mined with channeling machines, which cut grooves and holes in the rock,
Uses. Marble has long been highly valued for its beauty, strength, and resistance to fire and erosion. The ancient Greeks used marble in many buildings and statues. The Italian artist Michaelangelo used marble from Carrara, Italy, in a number of sculptures.
Extremely pure calcite marble is used for most statues. Large blocks of coloured marble are, used for columns, floors, and other parts of buildings. Smaller pieces of such marble are crushed or finely ground and used as abrasives in soaps and other products. Crushed or ground marble is also used in paving roads and in manufacturing roofing materials and soil treatment products.